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In November 2016 the UK Government launched a wide-ranging review of ‘Modern Employment Practices’ that would seek to be the most comprehensive survey of the modern labour market. What lies behind the Government’s concern is the subject of this Amity Insight.

The Future of Work

Neville Whte Neville Whte Head of RI Policy & Research
The Future of Work
Amity Insight reports

The Future of Work

The Future of Work
Neville Whte


Head of RI Policy & Research

In November 2016 the UK Government launched a wide-ranging review of ‘Modern Employment Practices’ that would seek to be the most comprehensive survey of the modern labour market. What lies behind the Government’s concern is the subject of this Amity Insight.

Work is at a crossroads. Technology, the instrument of so much that is positive in modern life, may also be the instrument of far reaching automation that puts the survival of human work itself in doubt. At the same time, technology has facilitated new types of labour in the ‘gig economy’ that is nimble, flexible, insecure and unpredictable.

15% of the UK labour market is now defined as ‘self-employed’ especially in the area of short-term, insecure, casual ‘gigs’, ‘contracted’ via the ‘app economy’. Typically, and most visibly, these include driving, delivering and DIY tasks. The exponential growth in disruptive labour has left legislation and regulation behind, with many struggling to make a living in a low-wage environment with few structured benefits and securities.

As responsible investors we write frequently on the ‘E’ and ‘G’ in ESG (Environment, Social and Governance), but the ‘S’ – the social impact of business and investment, often gets overlooked. For one thing it is hard to measure. As we show, the 19th and 20th centuries witnessed the long march of legislative protection for workers – from outlawing the worst incidents of child labour in Victorian times, to the struggle for equality more recently. These issues matter – and should matter for investors.

In this Insight, we consider the twin pressures facing workers: growing automation and low-wage-poor conditions. We explore why we support businesses adopting the Living Wage, and take a first look at how companies are reporting under the Modern Slavery Act.

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As always, we hope you enjoy this Amity Insight, and we welcome your comments and feedback.

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