Multi-year research into the changing world of work

Persoon aan het werk met laptop en telefoon

How quickly do workers find new employment after job loss due to automation? Which types of new jobs are being created even if others are automated? How often do people with flexible employment contracts make use of social security? How do minimum wage increases impact employment? Professors Anna Salomons and Maarten Goos from Utrecht University will investigate these and other questions about the future of work, with financial support from Instituut Gak.

Anna Salomons, professor of Employment and Inequality, and Maarten Goos, professor of Economics and Institutions, both affiliated with Utrecht University School of Economics, have been appointed as new chair holders by Instituut Gak as of October 1. Over the next five years, Goos and Salomons will work on four new research projects studying the labour market. These projects will analyze the consequences of the automation of work, the creation of new jobs, the causes and consequences of labour market flexibilisation, and the labour market effects of minimum wages. 

These new projects also contribute to the mission of the Utrecht University School of Economics: contributing to an economy where people flourish. Conducting societally relevant research, from a real world perspective. Professor Salomons explains how these new projects fit in the research agenda of their respective Chairs. Salomons (Employment & Inequality): "Labour market inequality is a central theme in these research projects. Together with the research team, we study how workers' outcomes have been impacted by forces such as technological progress and outsourcing, and how these effects vary across different job types and sectors of the economy."

Labour market inequality is a central theme in these research projects.

The new studies focus on the institutions in our society. Maarten Goos (Economics & Institutions): "Throughout, the research also considers the impacts of firms' decision-making and institutional arrangements in determining workers' labour market outcomes, including through outsourced labour, statutory minimum wages, and workers' use of social security."

The research also considers the impacts of firms' decision-making and institutional arrangements.

Salomons and Goos have been involved in interdisciplinary research into challenges for the future of work for some time through the Future of Work hub at Utrecht University. They also regularly collaborate with researchers from Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In addition, they have good ties with policymakers at home and abroad such as the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Labor Organization  and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Salomons and Goos also regularly engage in the public debate about the future of work, for example through interviews in the media.

Salomons and Goos will be supported by two postdoc researchers and two PhD candidates, who are in turn also financially supported by Instituut Gak. Together, as a research group, they will focus on connecting trends in society to challenges in the labour market.