Message from ...

...Brussels: 'The future of work is online'

Foto Linda Kunertová

Although I enjoyed a wonderful childhood and education in the Czech Republic, the move to Utrecht really helped broaden my horizons. Still, my future is in Brussels where I’m currently doing research on the future of work. 

Growing up in Olomouc, I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. Then, I realised how much I could contribute as an economist. When you’re working in economics, it’s all too easy to get caught up in oversimplified profit maximization models. The thing is, though: the discipline can also be used to benefit society.

I mastered the subject by studying Economics in Utrecht. I’d been there before as a 16-year-old on a school exchange. I had these strong memories of cycling, smiling people on the street and always imagined myself among them.

The employee’s interests should come first

I learned critical thinking skills in Utrecht, which are obviously really useful if you’re researching ways to improve the world. For example, policies on the future of work tend to revolve around the question: how many of our jobs will eventually become obsolete because of technology? However, the EU is also focused on the quality of those jobs. In order to explore those aspects, RAND in Brussels has been researching the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on our working lives.

As expected, AI will create both risks and opportunities. While we may eventually have more freedom to work remotely, technology will inevitably come to play a bigger role in management and HR. That’s why we recommended the following: at a minimum, employers need to be transparent as to when they’re using AI for monitoring purposes. They also need to put their employees’ interests first.

I hope we can build a society in which we all enjoy the benefits of social progress, and I hope my research can ultimately contribute to that goal. Ideally, I’d like to focus on the interface between gender and employment in future.’

Linda Kunertová (BSc Economics and Business Economics, 2017 and MSc Economic Policy, 2019) serves as ‘Social Policy research assistant’ at RAND Europe. She also holds a part-time position as ‘equality and diversity in the workplace analyst’ at the Czech Business for Society organisation.