How do we ensure the next generation of workers isn’t worse off than the last? — Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

From The Conversation

Discussions about the future of work are clearly in the air.

This week, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez is convening a three-day symposium on the issue. Simultaneously, the Brookings Institution hosted a discussion about the implications of the “gig” economy for work and employment policy. At MIT, we are also planning a similar conversation for early next year.

And in Silicon Valley, leaders of high-tech companies and worker advocates have recently started discussing new ways to offer benefits to contract workers following several high-profile cases in which Uber drivers and others have sued to be considered regular employees and gain the accompanying benefits.

All this couldn’t come at a better moment, but time is of the essence. Unless talk leads to actions to change the course of the economy and labor market, the next generation of workers is destined to experience a lower standard of living than their parents – the opposite of the American Dream.

I share a deep concern that is motivating this flurry of discussion. This concern for the next generation is the major theme in my current research, book and online MIT MOOC (massive open online course) devoted to Shaping the Future of Work. The central challenge we face is to update our employment policies to catch up with changes in the economy, workforce and employment structures.

How can we do it?

Read the full post at The Conversation.

Thomas Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, a Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems, and the CoDirector of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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