BCEC and FOWI host Future of Work Workshop

ContactsAstghik Mavisakalyan, Principal Research Fellow
Kelly Pohatu, Events and Communications Officer
Published24 April 2019

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) together with the Future of Work Institute (FOWI) at Curtin University hosted a workshop on the Future of Work on April 10 and 11 at Curtin St Georges Terrace in Perth.

The workshop provided researchers and policy makers with a forum to present and discuss innovative research relevant to the theme of future of work in all areas of economics, industrial relations and organisational studies.

The workshop was officially opened by FOWI Director, Professor Mark Griffin, who acknowledged the importance of the workshop in bringing about insights and perspectives on the issues we face in preparing for the future of work to drive good public policy.

BCEC Director, Professor Alan Duncan, set the scene for the workshop, addressing how the future of work is changing and why we need to rethink work.

“Caring obligations are still the main reason why women are working part-time, but the trend is moving away from this being the main reason, and towards a preference for part-time work instead,” Professor Duncan said.

Keynote presentations were delivered across the two day workshop by Professor Jeff Borland from the University of Melbourne, Professor Marian Baird AO from the University of Sydney and Professor Robert Wood from Cognicity, covering the current understanding of how the future of work is changing and why we need to rethink work.

Professor Borland delivered a captivating keynote presentation, and spoke about the issues government and business are faced with when planning for the future of work.

“There are many influences on the future of work but many influences won’t change – employers will still be motivated by profits and workers will be motivated by salaries and intrinsic satisfaction,” Professor Borland said.

“The impact of technology on the future of work will be that routine tasks can be substituted for technology, allowing room for more complex tasks, increasing productivity and innovation.”

Professor Marian Baird AO also shared a compelling keynote, sharing her extensive research and expertise on the challenges that business and government need to address to ensure equality of opportunity for women in the workplace.

Professor Baird broached the question, “what do we need to do to improve the future of women in the workplace?”

“Since 1978, there has been a decrease in men’s employment rates and an increase in women’s employment rates, and women have become the ‘shock absorbers’ of changes in patterns of work, family and care,” Professor Baird said.

“Workplace policies really matter for workers and families. Attitudes are converging, particularly for men who have children are now placing greater priority on flexibility to care for their children, and shared labour at home.”

Professor Robert Wood delivered the final keynote presentation, sharing his research into the ways universities can be prepared when planning for the future of work.

“Digital transformation and demographic shifts are changing jobs and skills requirements across a wide range of industries. Careers are less predictable and there is a belief that this is the new norm for university graduates, who are predicted to have many jobs across a range of careers,” Professor Wood said.

“New knowledge and skills are continually required as jobs change and as people transition to new companies and industries.”

The workshop organising committee comprised Professor Alan Duncan, Associate Professor Astghik Mavisakalyan and Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells (BCEC), Professor Mark Griffin (FOWI) and Professor John Phillimore (FOWI & JCIPP).

Collaborative workshops, such as this workshop, are designed to provide researchers and policy makers with a forum for presenting and discussing innovative research, and will continue to be of importance for the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre.

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