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Operationalizing the Future of Work to Measure Job Susceptibility

15 pagesPublished: November 24, 2022


This paper focuses on operationalizing the diverse discourses on the Future of Work (FoW) into a research model and instrument to measure the impact on job susceptibility in any given sector. Over the last few decades, the central focus in the discourse of the FoW has mainly been on how technological advancements have substituted jobs and skilled labor through the simplification of tasks. This has been at the expense of other non-technological factors that influence the FoW. The discourse on the FoW has also been difficult to operationalize with most of it being theoretical and conjectural. The paper adopts an abductive methodology, making use of a critical literature review and Santana and Cobo’s (2020) bibliometric review of the FoW. The resultant FoW model and instrument enable the measurement of job susceptibility in any sector and are useful for operationalizing the highly abstract and theoretical concept of the FoW. While the primary trigger for the FoW is innovative technological advancement, the discourse has often ignored the equally important and complementary political, social and economic forces that accompany any industrial revolution. The FoW model and instrument have considerable implications for individuals and organizations as they present a clearer picture of the job risks and opportunities available for skills development. The instrument, subject to empirical validation, holds potential to provide a more holistic projection about the impact of future industrial revolutions as they unfold. The FoW instrument can be used to measure job susceptibility in any sector. The recommendations from each sector can be used to plan and respond to social, political and economic changes affecting work that is affected by technological advancements. The instrument enables relevant stakeholders, policy makers and decision makers to better understand future prospects in different fields in order to plan and prepare workforces accordingly. It also means that society can better prepare and avoid unnecessary displacement of workers. The paper is exploratory and future work will involve the empirical validation of the research model and instrument.

Keyphrases: 4IR, disruption, Employment, Fourth Industrial Revolution, future of work, jobs

In: Hossana Twinomurinzi, Nkosikhona Msweli and Tendani Mawela (editors). Proceedings of NEMISA Summit and Colloquium 2022: The Future of Work and Digital Skills, vol 4, pages 42--56

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Naomi Isabirye and Hossana Twinomurinzi and Trevor Rammitlwa},
  title     = {Operationalizing the Future of Work to Measure Job Susceptibility},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of NEMISA Summit and Colloquium 2022: The Future of Work and Digital Skills},
  editor    = {Hossana Twinomurinzi and Nkosikhona Msweli and Tendani Mawela},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Education Science},
  volume    = {4},
  pages     = {42--56},
  year      = {2022},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2516-2306},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/qbjk}}
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