Future of Work

Persistent and dramatic advancements in technologies are transforming the workplace every day. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithmic management systems and robotics are changing job tasks and reorienting the way work is organized.

The mission of the Future of Work initiative is to assess how these emerging technologies affect a wide variety of groups and outcomes and evaluate how organizational strategies can best ensure inclusiveness and improve workers’ lives.


The World Economic Forum predicts that 85 million jobs will be displaced by 2025, which means they just simply won’t exist due to algorithms or new technologies.


Understanding how humans experience the ongoing changes at work is crucial for our economic performance and for the well-being of workers.

In addition to technology, demands for fairness, equity, and voice within the workplace are further altering the work experience. Changing workforce demographics are causing organizations to think about how to structure jobs and make schedules more flexible. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the options for remote work and altered our workspaces.

These dynamic settings necessitate a blend of technical expertise and soft skills. Fluid communication, cultural awareness, and the capacity for rapid problem-solving become as crucial as domain-specific knowledge. Furthermore, in these multifaceted scenarios, the ability to anticipate future trends, embrace continuous learning, and adapt to shifting paradigms is essential for both individual and collective success.


The overwhelming majority of workers (93%) reported believing it is very (60%) or somewhat (33%) important to have a job where they feel that the work they do has meaning. Fortunately, the majority of workers (87%) strongly (48%) or somewhat (40%) agreed that the work they do is meaningful. However, more than one-quarter (29%) of workers strongly (10%) or somewhat (19%) agreed that they do not matter to their employer.


Raising Existing and Emerging Research

The Future of Work Initiative brings together researchers who are focused on these issues, to generate the kind of interdisciplinary thinking that will be needed to meet these challenges. We cannot afford to ignore the role of social scientists in building and understanding human-machine systems.

We will seek to elevate and promote existing and emerging research within the College of Social Science and across the MSU community that examines how technology is changing the experience of people with work. Other goals include increasing opportunities for collaboration among researchers and engaging students in courses related to the evolving nature of work.