New technology and work: Exploring the challenges

John Burgess, Julia Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Investigations into new technologies, employment and working conditions are timeless and consequently have occupied research, public policy, and popular fiction for centuries. However, in addition to the uncertainty created by the introduction of new technologies, the current coronavirus pandemic, with its associated impact on health and the economy, has led to increased volatility across the globe. The global medical crisis arising from the worldwide spread of COVID-19 is predicted to lead to a global economic crisis and subsequent deep depression. The resultant economic, social and political repercussions are likely to be felt for years or even decades to come, equalling the great depression of the last century. Consequently, it is difficult to make long-term accurate predictions about the impact of new technologies on industry, society, and labour. In this context, the aim of this introductory article to the themed volume is to consider the potential challenges and opportunities associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and potential impacts on work and workplaces. This introductory article comprises an international collection of research that examines the impact of technological change on employment and working conditions with consideration given to the additional impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. JEL Codes: O14, O33.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-323
Number of pages14
JournalEconomic and Labour Relations Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • fourth industrial revolution
  • new technology
  • work
  • workplaces


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