There is a variety of factors that influence changes in working life – at present, in the future, and in the past.
Too often, debates about the Future of Work (FoW) narrowly focus on changing technologies – currently digitalization – while equally important factors that already have been at work for a while and will continue influencing working life tend to be neglected.
Examples could be demographic change – ageing and migration – climate change, and economic and political changes associated with globalization, European integration, and rising income gaps, to mention a few.
The impact of such mega-trends on work is not unidirectional. Often they pull in divergent directions, some trends go in reverse, and some prove weaker or slower than expected. Moreover, the opportunities and threats they pose to jobs and working conditions are filtered by institutions, policies, and economic conditions that differ across countries, regions, and industries. That is, the future of work is undetermined and will ultimately depend on human agency and imagination.
In Pillar-I we will briefly review the main drivers of change that are likely to influence Nordic working life in the 15-20 years ahead, and discuss how they may affect the institutions and policy instruments that Nordic politicians and social actors can invoke to shape the FoW.
Jon Erik Dølvik, Senior Researcher, Fafo.