18 October 2019 from 12:00 to 18:00

Utrecht University Conference "Future of Work"

Future of Work barrista zet koffie

Deregulation, digitalization and globalisation have given rise to the emergence of more diversified flexible work arrangements and of a rising share of vulnerable workers. The trend towards more flexible work relationships (such as short-term, on-call employment, temporary agency work, solo self-employment or platform work) frequently leads to precarious work. This is characterized by increasing insecurity and unpredictability. Flexible work may also increase the autonomy of workers, lower labour costs for employers, and mean more work opportunities to young workers, and the unemployed and disabled workers. 

Under which institutional or organisational circumstances do employers actively engage in promoting labour market participation and decent working conditions for vulnerable workers? Which distinctions are made between workers and how do these influence their access to decent work?

We invite Utrecht University scholars to share their understanding of what the future of work might entail for different groups of workers, organisations, legal systems, labour markets, and society as a whole.

12.00 – 13.00

Registration and lunch

13.00 – 14.40

First session: Impacts of flexible work (chair Frans Pennings)

13.00 – 13.25*

Patrizia Zanoni: Labour market inclusion through predatory capitalism? The ‘sharing economy’, diversity, and the crisis of social reproduction in the Belgian coordinated market economy. View abstract (pdf)

13.25 – 13.50

Merel Keijzer: Pay in different forms of labour relationships. View abstract (pdf)

13.50 – 14.15

Silvia Rossetti: Under which circumstances is solo self-employment precarious work? View abstract (pdf)

14.15 – 14.40

Joop Schippers, Chantal Remery: Satisfied@work. Differences between self-employed and employees in the European Union. View abstract (pdf)

* Time slots include 15 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of discussion.

14.40 – 15.10


15.10 – 16.50

Second session (chair Maarten Goos)


15.10 – 15.35

Theme: Policies and labour market institutions
Wolter Hassink: Gender and job search in the Dutch market for temporary staff and payrolling jobs. View abstract (pdf)

15.35 – 16.00

Theme: Impacts of globalization and digitalization
Xianjia Ye: Labour demand in global value chains: is there a bias against unskilled jobs? View abstract (pdf)

16.00 – 16.25

Theme: Career development and lifelong learning
Evelien van Leeuwen, Eva Knies, Liesbeth van Rensen: Careers of professionals: Are current career theories applicable to the careers of professionals? View abstract (pdf)

16.25 – 16.50

Theme: Work-life balance
Susanne Heeger: Financial barriers for combining work and informal care. View abstract (pdf)

17.00 – 18.00


Researchers who are working in the related fields but without a paper to be presented are also welcomed to attend. Lunch will be served.

Location: Centraal Museum Utrecht, Nicolaasdwarsstraat 14 (Tuinzaal Beneden).

Future of Work bouwvakker bij machine

In the Future of Work hub discipline-specific approaches to such issues are combined.

In this way we may be able to better understand which individual, organisational and institutional (or meso-) factors make that flexible work arrangements tend more to precarity or to autonomy. This may also help to understand whether flexible work will increase social welfare. 

Multi-disciplinary research is much needed to systematically study the impact of societal challenges on the labour market and the organization of work
Eva Knies

Aim of the conference

Future of Work is a major theme of research at Utrecht University. Researchers from different disciplines explore the impact of societal challenges, such as deregulation, digitalization and globalisation on labour markets and the organisation of work. This theme is of high societal relevance.

Since 2018 Future of work researchers cooperate in the ‘hub Future of Work’ of the Institutions for Open Societies research area. The hub brings together several research groups, among which researchers from the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, who have worked together for the past years on Future of Work related themes, resulting in this conference.


The Future of Work conference enables Utrecht University scholars in the area of future of work to share their understanding of what the future of work might entail for different groups of workers, organisations, legal systems, labour markets, and society as a whole. The conference will be limited to presentations by Utrecht University scholars in order to stimulate cooperation of these experts in their projects. In spring 2020 an international conference for a broader forum will be organised.

Furthermore, by promoting an interdisciplinary discussion around the research agenda of the Institutions for Open Societies-hub Future of Work, we want to create the basis for further multidisciplinary collaborations and synergies.

Start date and time
18 October 2019 12:00
End date and time
18 October 2019 18:00
Entrance fee
Free of charge
More information
Future of Work hub