What Do We Know and What Should We Do About The Future of Work? is part of a new book series offering short, up-to-date overviews of key issues often misrepresented or simplified in the mainstream media. In this book, Professor Melanie Simms analyses ‘What We Know’ about the current state of paid employment in the UK and provides a far-ranging examination of the most pressing issues facing traditional employment, such as:  • The rise of automation  • Robotics and artificial intelligence  • Platform capitalism  • The Universal Basic Income  • The challenges of demographic change The author concludes by suggesting ‘What We Should Do’ – identifying four main areas that would have to be strengthened, in order to deliver a society and economy with more and better jobs. Intended for anyone seeking a quick and authoritative understanding of the future of work in the UK. Series Editor: Professor Chris Grey, Royal Holloway, University of London


What is work?

Work is a far wider concept than simply paid employment. The focus of this book is mainly on paid employment, but there is a fuzzy line between concepts. Even paid employment is not as easy to define as we might at first think. It involves an exchange of labour for some kind of payment, but both parts of that definition are complex. Technically, what is offered by the worker is the capacity to work, rather than the work itself. Workers will make themselves available to the employer for a particular period of time. The job of the employer – usually through managers and control systems – is to ensure that the labour is directed at the activities required, and to an ...

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