Future of Work

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The Department of Labor's mission — advancing opportunity, protecting benefits and promoting basic labor standards for America's workers — extends throughout the world of work, whatever forms it may take. As work changes, we need to make sure we are keeping pace.

On December 10, we hosted a symposium to address these issues.







             



What's At Stake

The shifting nature of work relationships creates opportunities and challenges, and raises questions about how to best uphold the department's mission.

Data

Data

Measuring trends in the nature of work is crucial to understanding them. Program and policy decisions must be informed by a nuanced understanding of how the labor market has changed over time; which factors are driving change; and how these trends affect job quality.

Building Good Jobs Principles into Emerging Platforms

Building Good Jobs Principles into Emerging Platforms

As digital business models take shape in more and more industries, now is a crucial time to explore ways to build positive practices into emerging platforms and networks. Developing platforms can serve customers well and create value for shareholders, all while incorporating safety, security, shared prosperity and a meaningful voice for workers.

Defining Work in the 21st Century

Defining Work in the 21st Century

Discussions about existing categories of workers, like "employee" and "independent contractor," are at the forefront of public discourse on the future of work. Do these categories adequately capture the future reality of work and ensure that those helping to build the economy benefit from their work? Are there new ways of defining what work is and how worker protections should apply to it?

Health and Safety in a Changing Workforce

Health and Safety in a Changing Workforce

New draft Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines target small and medium sized businesses, and are designed to better adapt to new business models. How can these guidelines best serve a changing workforce?

Women and the Future of Work

Women and the Future of Work

For women, the future of work will include new and perennial challenges as well as potential benefits associated with changing work arrangements. There will be implications for improving women's labor force participation and reducing the gender wage gap, which, according to one estimate, is not projected to close before the year 2058.

International Connections

International Connections

Workplace trends are playing out in other countries and the United States, creating opportunities for us to learn from others' experiences, and for them to learn from our experience in the United States.

Worker Voice in the New Workforce

Worker Voice in the New Workforce

How do changes in the nature of work affect the way workers can advocate for themselves and have a stake in the enterprise? How can workers stand together when they no longer congregate in the same work space? Can they exercise collective action when the nature of their employment situation has given way to something more arms-length — from contract situations to temporary employment to one-off job opportunities, or "gigs" — arising from subcontracting, outsourcing, and other forms of "fissuring?"




By the Numbers

The workforce has changed dramatically over the past 50 years.


Average hourly private sector earnings
Men and Women in the labor force
Union members in the labor force





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What is the most important factor shaping the future of work in America?

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