Researching the future of work

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March 1, 2016 by Kate Bowles

There’s a lot of research being reported at the moment that is essentially predictive: what do people think is going to happen to the way we work in the near to medium-term future?

These big reports are a useful opportunity for student researchers to examine professional research practice, as they typically include links to their research methods. The main website on which the reports are released will often also detail who funded the research, who actually did it, and in some cases how the report has been covered in the media.

And sometimes they don’t, which is also interesting.

You’ll also notice quickly that different reports apparently asking the same questions come to different conclusions.

Here are three useful recent examples:

Indeed blog, Labour Market Outlook 2016: uncovering the causes of global jobs mismatch (2015). (available here)

Hajkowicz SA, Reeson A, Rudd L, Bratanova A, Hodgers L, Mason C, Boughen N (2016) Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce: Megatrends and scenarios for jobs and employment in Australia over the coming twenty years. CSIRO, Brisbane. (available here)

PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia and Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, Higher education workforce of the future (2016). (available here)

What makes these reports powerful in our culture? What claims do they make, and how do we learn to evaluate them?


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