Research Project

Shaping the future of work: Artificial intelligence and gender

Principal Investigator
Professor Elisabeth Kelan

How does digitalisation shape and is shaped by gender?

Algorithms, artificial intelligence, augmentation, automation, digitalisation and machine learning are regularly used terms when discussing the future of work. The visions of the future of work imaged span utopian or dystopian scenarios.

In regard to gender these transformations pose the risk of new forms of exclusion or the opportunity for new forms of inclusion. This research project develops a novel understanding of how digitalisation shapes and is shaped by gender at work.

Our research consists of four parts:

  • The first part explores how popular books and thought leaders imagine the future of work.
  • The second part focuses on how artificial intelligence is changing human resources practices, particularly in regard to hiring.
  • The third part traces automation and augmentation in professional services work such as in law and accounting.
  • The fourth part of the research focuses on human intelligence tasks such as data labelling that help artificial intelligence learn.

Our funding:

The first three parts of the project are supported by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship entitled Shaping the Future of Work – Digitalisation and Gender (MRF-2019-069).

The fourth part, Algorithms and Gender: Helping Artificial Intelligence Learn is funded by the British Academy (SRG20\200195).

Highlights of our research


Get involved:

Part of our research project seeks to understand how mainstream books on the future of work talk about gender. Our online questionnaire is investigating which books on the broad topic of the future of work are regarded as insightful. The books should be published in or after 2016 and should centre on the future of work and digitalisation (broadly defined to include machine learning, AI, automation, robotics etc.). The books do not have to focus on or even discuss gender prominently. The books should represent general books on the future of work and digitalisation. If you have particular popular books on the future of work to recommend, feel free to suggest them.


Take part in the questionnaire


If you are interested in being a case study company or being interviewed for the research or to learn more about the project in general, do get in touch with Professor Elisabeth Kelan.

Contact us
Principal Investigator Professor Elisabeth Kelan
Essex Business School
Essex Business School University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ