Futures Exchange is putting together a collection of essays on the future of work, and we’re looking for submissions.

The goal is two-fold: to identify weaknesses in the current systems that transport children from school into the workplace, and to suggest alternatives. Although the focus will predominantly be the UK, we’re eager to have views from around the world.

What does work look like for the next generation, and how do we prepare them for it? Common assumptions about the future include increased job insecurity, fewer worker protections, a shrinking middle class and a growing precariat class, increases in debt burden (both university and other), increased competition for jobs from abroad, increasing inequality, and shifts in our definitions of success, in our aspirations, and in our living arrangements.

Some questions to consider:

  • What is the best preparation for a world with no jobs-for-life? Where you have a portfolio or a work history but not a career?
  • Does a massive lump sum education make sense? What else could you buy for your future with £50,000?
  • If the university dream is broken, what middle class aspiration could take its place?
  • Are degrees heading for a sub-prime crisis? Are we building a debt bomb?
  • As the responsibilities and cost of training shift from employer to employee, are unpaid internships here to stay?
  • Could we cut the middleman out of temping and market ourselves direct to employers on short contracts? Would that strengthen or weaken employees?
  • How do we discuss employment at a governmental level? Is it worth relying on unemployment statistics that do not include those not on benefits, or those on zero hour contracts?
  • Can we redefine the role of work in our lives?
  • Dare we even think about retirement?

Essays should be between 500 and 1,000 words.

Deadline for submissions is September 9.

To contribute, email me at futures-exchange@frankswain.com