Future of work and inclusive growth

The project Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe was launched on 2 Sept 2020 in the Bruegel Annual Meetings. It is supported by and developed in collaboration with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. The project, envisioned over the next three years, closely analyses the impact of technology on the nature, quantity and quality of work, welfare systems and inclusive growth at large. That includes exploring the role of technology and AI in reshaping society, particularly when subject to extreme stress (e.g. during a pandemic), and considering those who have been most affected by these forces in the short and long term.

Project Workstream

Goals and objectives

Technological development, and in particular, digitalisation, has major implications for labour markets and the nature of work itself. There is a rise in alternative types of work that today’s European welfare states have not yet had the chance to adapt to. The transformation of the way we work is only likely to speed up because of the pandemic. While there is still uncertainty surrounding the long-term economic implications of the pandemic, we know that Europe’s digital future, and its relationship with its workforce in particular, will be wholly impacted, and it will require an inclusive, cross-sector response moving forward. The project brings together academics, policymakers, practitioners, and the private sector to bridge new insights on critical issues with opportunities for practical application.

The Future of Work and Inclusive growth project is divided into four main workstreams:

1. Technology & tasks: changing what we do at work
– Effects on job quality and wellbeing at work
– Distributional effects in the labour market

2. Technology & the employment relationship: changing how, when & where we work
– New forms of work organisation (platform & hybrid work)
– Balance of power & discrimination in the labour market

3. Technology & skills: changing what need to know at work
– Reskilling workers in jobs at risk for automation
– Transitioning workers towards future-proof jobs

4. Technology beyond work: digital inclusion & shared prosperity
– Digital divide: technology, poverty & inequality
– Data governance and health


The thematic workstreams are carried out through the following activities and outputs:

  • Creation of the Excellence Network – platform for a diverse community of stakeholders (academia, policy representatives, business sector, employers’ organizations, trade unions, innovative small companies) to allow exchange of insights and enhance a stronger collaboration between different social and economic actors.
  • Policy papers written by the experts in the Excellence Network and Bruegel’s fellows.
  • Case studies to share best practices in private and public initiatives for steering technological change in a human-centred direction and helping workers adapt through reskilling and transitioning.
  • Dashboard – an interactive, comprehensive analytical tool that monitors the impact of technological change on labour markets in Europe.
  • Events in Brussels and other EU countries to share and discuss the findings of the research with strategic stakeholders across Europe.
  • Dissemination of results through social media, data visualizations, podcasts and other Bruegel’s output.


As a leading independent voice in Europe on economic policy response, with a track record of extensive work around the role of digitization, technology, and gig work in the labour force, Bruegel is well positioned to lead this effort. Bruegel has been successfully collaborating with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth in the past three years conducting studies on inclusive growth (2016)migration (2017) and the effects of digitalisation on European welfare states (2018/19).  The Center, committed to support initiatives that focus on long-term economic growth and the reduction of income and information inequality, is the ideal catalyser for this initiative. In addition, Bruegel’s Director Guntram Wolff has been a Fellow of the Mastercard Global Economic Panel since 2013. The economic panel meets 1-2 times per year with the senior MasterCard management to discuss the global economy in an informal way, which led to building a strong relationship between Bruegel and the Center.

Research team

Laura Nurski, Research Fellow and Project leader

Monika Grzegorczyk, Research Analyst

Mia Hoffmann, Research Analyst

Tom Schraepen, Research Analyst

Institutional oversight

Guntram Wolff, Director of Bruegel

Project management

Scarlett Varga, Head of Development

Alma Kurtovic, Partnerships and Project Manager


Beating burnout: identifying bad jobs and improving job quality, Policy contribution by Mia Hoffmann and Laura Nurski

Market power and artificial intelligence work on online labour markets, Working Paper by Néstor Duch-Brown, Estrella Gomez-Herrera, Frank Mueller-Langer and Songül Tolan.

An inclusive European Union must boost gig workers’ rights, Blog post by Mario Mariniello.

The triple constraint on artificial-intelligence advancement in Europe, Blog post by Mia Hoffmann and Laura Nurski.

What is holding back artificial intelligence adoption in Europe? Policy contribution by Mia Hoffmann and Laura Nurski.

Biometric technologies at work: a proposed use-based taxonomy, Policy contribution by Mario Mariniello and Mia Hoffmann.

Do robots dream of paying taxes? Policy contribution by Rebecca Christie.

For remote work to work, new ground rules are needed, Opinion by Mario Mariniello.

Remote work, EU labour markets and wage inequality, Blog post by Georgios Petropoulos and Tom Schraepen.

Designing a hybrid work organisation, Blog post by Laura Nurski.

Workers can unlock the artificial intelligence revolution, Blog post by Mia Hoffmann and Laura Nurski.

Blending the physical and virtual: a hybrid model for the future of work, Policy contribution by Monika Grzegorczyk, Mario Mariniello, Laura Nurski and Tom Schraepen.

Algorithmic management is the past, not the future of workBlog by Laura Nurski.

We need more bias in artificial intelligence, Opinion by Mario Mariniello.

Self-employment, COVID-19, and the future of work for knowledge workers, Blog Post by Milena Nikolova.

Fair vaccine access is a goal Europe cannot afford to miss, Blog post by Lionel Guetta-Jeanrenaud and Mario Mariniello.

Brussels’ Digital Plan Leaves the Key Issue Unaddressed, Opinion by Mario Mariniello.

The scarring effect of COVID-19: youth unemployment in Europe, Blog post by and Monika Grzegorczyk and Guntram Wolff.

Job polarisation and the Great Recession, Blog post by Sybrand Brekelmans and Georgios Petropoulos. 

Artificial intelligence’s great impact on low and middle-skilled jobs, Blog post by Sybrand Brekelmans and Georgios Petropoulos. 


Future of work and inclusive growth: Digital dialogues, an end of year series of digital discussions on the Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe.

A hybrid future of work with Julie Brophy, Joost Korte, Laura Nurski, Renske Paans and Alex A. Saliba.

The work of the future: How are new jobs created and what are the implications for labour markets? with David Autor, Maarten Goos, Barbara Kauffmann and Georgios Petropoulos.

The Future of Work – a conversation with Commissioner Schmit with Mario Mariniello and EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit.

Protecting workers in the platform economy with Payal Dalal, Mario Mariniello, Diane Mulcahy, Ana Carla Pereira, Jacob Rudbäck and Shamina Singh.


Job quality is about more than working conditions, with Janine Berg, Laura Nurski and Giuseppe Porcaro

Online labour: Can we all just move to Tahiti? with Laura Nurski, Giuseppe Porcaro and Fabian Stephany

Make AI boring again with Mario Mariniello, Giuseppe Porcaro and Teemu Roos

Technology: a product of unequal power? with Mario Mariniello, Giuseppe Porcaro and David Spencer

Is tech redefining the workplace for women? with Sabine Theresia Köszegi, Laura Nurski and Giuseppe Porcaro.

Are robots taking our jobs? with Aaron Benanav, Alexis Moraitis, Laura Nurski and Giuseppe Porcaro.

The skills of the future with Laura Nurski, Dimitrios Pikios and Giuseppe Porcaro.

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