Chapter 1: Understanding the future of work
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We explain our aim of charting a forward-looking agenda for employment relations research. The aim is to map out the important intellectual boundaries for the field of research, outline the key research needs and link this research agenda back to how it should inform practice. In doing so, we look at current research topics such as the rise of the gig economy and the role of platform companies and examine the implications of such developments for key employment relations research agendas, such as (in)security of employment, equity, fairness, wellbeing and voice. We review the extant literature on the future of work and also explore the big issues facing the modern workforce. While acknowledging that, and analysing how, the world of work is changing in important ways, we argue for a research base that allows more sober reflections on grand claims that surround the future of work and a base of research that is firmly grounded in evidence to guide policy makers and practitioners who must tackle the issues raised in this volume.