Technology and the Future of Work: Labour Market Opportunities, Barriers, and Equity in a Time of Technological and Economic Transformation
This project sets out to examine the effects of technological innovation on work and labour markets, with a focus on the economic and social implications in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). We are particularly interesting in investigating opportunities, barriers, and equity in a time of technological and economic transformation. There has been considerable discourse and research on the overall effect of technological transformation, such as future skills needs and overall impact on jobs, but considerations of potentially unequal social and economic impacts appear somewhat neglected.
Rapid technological advancements are making it both easier and more cost-effective to replace human labour with machines. At the same time, there is an increasing need for advanced technological capabilities in many occupations. The topic is of particular relevance to NL, which has historically been dependent on resource industries for jobs that are at particular risk of being affected by technology and automation. Simultaneously, there is increasing talk of technology industries as an alternative to resource industries, such as oil and gas, for both economic and environmental reasons. This project employs an equity lens to examine how such a transformation does not disproportionately disadvantage certain population groups considering factors such as gender, age, geographic location, a theme explore in a paper currently under review.
Our main premise is that to get a full picture of the multiple factors at play, researchers need to engage directly with the diverse stakeholders implicated. The project seeks to engage with organizations such as government, industry associations, and labour organizations, all of which will have different, and sometimes competing, interests concerning the topic. Collaboration with these diverse stakeholder groups will help ensure that the right questions are asked during the research and increase the richness, rigour, and relevance of the research.