June 19, 2024

From technology exposure to job quality: evidence from a comprehensive UK survey

A Briefing Paper summarising this work - and policy implications springing from it - can be found here.

How people feel about the jobs that they do is important. Our work is more than the single most important determinant of our living standards. Work is the thread that connects individual lives with their communities and the economy. Work promotes social relationships, forges connections of mutual support and fosters collaboration, binding together our capabilities with the environmental conditions that can either promote – or diminish – individual and collective flourishing.

Work and wellbeing are inextricably connected - and as we shape the future of our work, we shape the future of our wellbeing too.

In the research that we published in March, we showed that the growing use of technologies in the workplace is having significant, measurable and varied impacts on employees’ wellbeing.

Exposure to digital ICTs such as laptops, tablets and smartphones was associated with higher quality of life, while exposure to other technologies such as wearables, AI software and robotics was negatively correlated with wellbeing.

However, the mechanisms behind these associations have not been well explored. If we know that exposure to new technologies is impacting workers’ wellbeing, we need to understand how this is happening to inform what we do about it. In particular, we need to know how these technologies are interacting with job quality changes, and therefore impacting good work.

This second Working Paper adds to the work on wellbeing by providing a more nuanced understanding of the mechanisms by which exposures to workplace technologies may be connected to quality of life – of which job quality is a main contributor.

What we find here is that the feelings of persistent job insecurity that new technologies bring cancel out many of the potential job quality gains, unless such downsides are consciously managed.

In addition, the promise that AI and automation technologies would relieve people of routine work is found to be lacking substance, diminishing hopes that these new technologies inherently improve job quality in itself. This adds weight to calls for more attention to be made to choices that shape job quality impacts when new technologies are adopted, right from design through development and deployment.

Read the Working PaperRead the Working Paper


Magdalena Soffia, Rolando Leiva-Granados, Xingzuo Zhou, Jolene Skordis

Publication type



Pissarides Review into the Future of Work and Wellbeing

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