Fragmentation in the future of work: a horizon scan examining the impact of the changing nature of work on workers experiencing vulnerability

Publication type
Journal article
Jetha A, Shamaee A, Bonaccio S, Gignac MA, Tucker LB, Tompa E, Bultmann U, Norman CD, Banks CG, Smith PM
Date published
2021 Jun 01
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Open Access?

INTRODUCTION: The future of work is characterized by changes that could disrupt all aspects of the nature and availability of work. Our study aims to understand how the future of work could result in conditions, which contribute to vulnerability for different groups of workers. METHODS: A horizon scan was conducted to systematically identify and synthesize diverse sources of evidence, including academic and gray literature and resources shared over social media. Evidence was synthesized, and trend categories were developed through iterative discussions among the research team. RESULTS: Nine trend categories were uncovered, which included the digital transformation of the economy, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning-enhanced automation, AI-enabled human resource management systems, skill requirements for the future of work; globalization 4.0, climate change and the green economy, Gen Zs and the work environment; populism and the future of work, and external shocks to accelerate the changing nature of work. The scan highlighted that some groups of workers may be more likely to experience conditions that contribute to vulnerability, including greater exposure to job displacement or wage depression. The future of work could also create opportunities for labor market engagement. CONCLUSION: The future of work represents an emerging public health concern. Exclusion from the future of work has the potential to widen existing social and health inequities. Thus, tailored supports that are resilient to changes in the nature and availability of work are required for workers facing vulnerability