Griffith Review Edition 45

THE WAY WE WORK

The way we work has changed profoundly in recent years. Job security is a thing of the past – many welcome the flexibility of the new environment while others find it hard to adjust.

Griffith Review 45: The Way We Work explores the extraordinary structural changes in work caused by technology, globalisation, economic theory, the collapse of the unions and an ageing population. 

Featuring essays from Ashley Hay, Gideon Haigh, Mandy Sayer, Rebecca Huntley, Peter Mares, Josephine Rowe and more, The Way We Work asks: How does work shape our values, our citizens, cultures and communities? As our work changes, how will it change us? How does the blurring of work and leisure through ‘access anywhere’ technology affect our attitudes to work? How are older Australians going to find consistent and flexible work (as the government wants them to do) when age discrimination is rife? Will flexible work help decrease the gender gap?

Australians are now near the top of the list of working hours in developed countries; a substantial and growing proportion of people work part-time with multiple employers – not all by choice; unpaid internships are the normal entry path for young people; women are no longer forced to resign when they marry or become pregnant, but the wage gap remains; manufacturing and agricultural jobs have given way to working in services, and now those jobs that don’t actually demand hands on contact are also moving offshore.

We exist in professional landscapes that didn’t exist fifteen years ago, that are still being altered and transformed today, and that are probably all but incomprehensible to our parents’ generation. 

One thing remains constant though, work is essential to economic wellbeing and meaning, so getting it right is important.