The Future of Employment

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On Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th of November Melbourne will  host the Australian Long Term Unemployment Conference.

It’s not too late to get your tickets but don’t delay.  Register for the conference now at:


Joel Cohen recently chatted with Futurist and guest speaker at the conference Charles Brass.


Joel Cohen – Do you call yourself a futurist Charles?

Charles Brass – Yes

JC – How does one become a futurist?

CB – There is now a way and it’s through a strategic foresight course at Swinbourne University.  Before then you just called yourself one.

JC – Are skills or experience essential?

CB – What most people expect from a futurist is predictions.  But what futurist needs to do is avoid making predictions.  Rather they help create the future which is inherently unpredictable.  Offering  tools and techniques to prepare for this uncertain future is their role.

JC – Does the application of these tools consider core values and beliefs?

CB – Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) can be applied as an attempt to find out what is going on underneath thinking.  Every one brings their own values and beliefs along and a futurist doesn’t put one value or belief as more important over another, rather the futurist is concerned with what the impact they may have.

JC – How does all this relate to unemployment?

CB – In a sense it doesn’t, except that future of work foundation has been thinking about the future of work for a long time.  In that sense I am like an academic interested in this content area.

JC – So what is the future of work?

CB – Language is important.  We must distinguish between the future of work and future of jobs.  It depends on what we are talking about.


Work = Getting things done.  It may be doing something you want to do in a way that sustains you.

Jobs = Something someone else wants done in exchange for money (and there is no future for jobs)


JC – Why is there no future for jobs?

CB – The reason that jobs as a concept has no future is humans now have the technological capacity to get things done without needing humans.  The incentive for business managers is to get things done as cheaply and efficiently as possible.

The question becomes if human beings don’t have jobs how do they participate in the economy?  There are not sufficient people getting sufficient money to play their part as consumers in the economy and the idea of a full time job is disappearing.

But there are lots of possible solutions:

Option One is to get back into employing people, but this is probably a bad idea.

Option Two – Since wealth is still being created and increasing in Australia, look at how is it being distributed.

JC – How does the rise of the freelancer and microbusiness come into this?

CB – Lots of things have disguised the employment issues in the past few years and one is the rise of freelancers.  But this hides the fact that this way of operating is available only to a small number of people, not enough people to make it work on scale.

CB – Why do you think the upcoming Long Term Unemployment Conference is worth attending?

If you look at the statistics an increasing number of people fall into the category of long term unemployed and the term unemployed has specific meaning to statisticians.  I want to broaden the term unemployed to include people who would like to work but can’t find a job, and are probably sick of jumping through the Centrelink hoops. Sometimes this contingent is called under-employed and it is increasing.  I understand that the unemployment union is going to protest outside the conference about wanting to broaden this concept too.

Conferences like this are essential to get the message out before there is a disaster.  Despite what politicians claim in their campaigns it’s not working and it’s harder to rebuild after a disaster.



Find out more about Charles and the future of jobs by attending the conference

Or visit


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