Future of work

What the future of work looks like today

A Walmart sign pointing toward self checkout
Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty

Projections of job changes from automation reach decades into the future, but the early shoots of these changes are visible already.

Why it matters: Today's workplace, with its social inequities and imbalanced power dynamics, will define the future of jobs.

An uncertain future for workers

work desk
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

DETROIT, Mich. — There's no better symbol of what the American worker's life used to look like than Detroit: A stable, lifelong career at a booming factory, a union membership and a pension.

The big picture: Workers' lives in the future won't look like that. Already, new technologies and the gig economy are breaking down those very forces of stability that defined jobs over the last century — and the future of workers hangs in the balance.