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Features Melanie Simms, Professor of Work and Employment at the University of Glasgow discussing her latest short book, “What do we know and what should we do about the future of work?” Simms dives into the tendency to romanticise the rapid change in the work world.
She believes instead in the likelihood of stability in jobs. Despite the UK being one of the world’s greatest producers of goods, automation has added jobs and changed the face of manufacturing, with more highly skilled jobs desired than ever before. Simms also discusses how the service sector consists mostly of ‘emotional’ labour, how an ageing population will transform pensions, and the ways that flexible working and 4-day weeks might encroach.
Why does this matter? By placing work in an appropriately modern setting, it’s important to explore how societies can respond to change, focusing in particular on rights and regulation, enforcement, and the role of unions and collective action. Yes, automation will inevitably disrupt a number of jobs, but this will only drive higher productivity higher in the long run.