LABFAM is an Interdisciplinary Centre for Labour Market and Family Dynamics established at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Warsaw. It aims at investigating the effects of the dynamic labour market changes on families: their formation and dissolution, well-being of their family members and the division of paid and unpaid work between partners. It currently hosts the ERC Consolidator Grant “Globalization- and Technology-Driven Labour Market Change and Fertility” (LABFER). It is also funded from the Polish Returns Programme of the National Agency of Academic Exchange.
Labour market has been undergoing substantial transformations for several decades. In the second half of the previous century, they were mainly related to the rapid development of the service sector and a massive entry of women into the labour force. By the end of the century, the conditions of participating in the labour force started to be affected by gradual opening of economies to international trade and eradication of barriers to free movement of people and capital. This process – globalisation – has recently intensified with a rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICT). The ongoing globalisation and digitalisation have led to profound changes in labour markets, by making work more flexible, but also more uncertain. On the one hand, they offer new earning opportunities and provide more work autonomy and satisfaction. They also allow for a distant work, reducing the pressure to commute or migrate to another country. On the other hand, they create higher pressure on employees to constantly invest in skills, adjust to new guidelines an technologies, compete for jobs with robots or cheaper workers in distant parts of the world and remain connected to work anytime and anywhere. These changes may further exacerbate as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemics, which gave impetus to remote working, development of artificial intelligence or implementation of green technologies.
Similarly to past transformations in the labour markets (expansion the service sector in the second half of the previous century or the collapse of the state socialism, these changes are very likely to affect formation of families and their stability. This is because they influence earning prospects of young adults, the stability of their work careers and time availability. They may also affect the relative position of women and men in the labour markets, although the direction of this influence remains unclear. On the one hand, women may gain from the increasing possibilities to work from home and increasing value of social skills. On the other hand, however, women may also lose in the labour markets due to the rapidly growing demand for high tech skills.
In LABFAM, we will investigate these phenomena across post-industrial contemporary societies with a special focus on Europe. We will also examine how the institutional (policies) and cultural contexts of the country moderates the effects the labour market change evokes on families. Even though LABFAM is established at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, we will adopt an interdisciplinary perspective, inviting also collaboration of demographers, sociologists or political scientists.