Updated: 18 March 2008




It is generally agreed that we are witnessing a historically unprecedented transformation of work. Under the combined impact of globalisation and technological innovation, organisational structures, work processes, skill requirements and occupational identities are changing beyond recognition with social impacts that spread beyond the workplace. These changes pose challenges to companies, to trade unions, to training agencies and to regional, national and European policymakers as well as to workers themselves and their families who have to live with the daily consequences for their physical and psychological well-being and their future employment prospects.

In 2005, the European Commission funded a ground-breaking research project, Work Organisation Restructuring in the Knowledge Society (WORKS) to investigate these changes in depth. Combining theoretical work and a detailed analysis of a wide range of statistics with in-depth case studies, the team have analysed the forces that bring about these changes, including global value chain restructuring and the policy environment, and have produced a series of publications highlighting different aspects of these changes: in work organisation, employers’ use of technology, skills and knowledge requirements, career trajectories, occupational segregation and the quality of working life.

At this important international conference, these results will be presented and subjected to the scrutiny of leading European policymakers and experts from around the world.