CEIBS Research Fund: “Aged to Perfection: Benefits from An Inactive Population” in Honour of Dr. Gerard Van Schaik, Co-Chairman of CEIBS Board of Directors Future of Work and Aging: New Challenges and Opportunities  

Primary Investigator: Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, Ph.D., Visiting Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty, The Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Brown University; Associate Professor of Management, College of Management, University of Massachusetts

Co-Primary Investigator: Jennifer Nazareno, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and The Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Brown University

Their study is titled: Future of Work and Aging: New Challenges and Opportunities










In recent years, increased attention has been focused on the Future of Work or those new conditions of work that will arise due to the rise and use of technological advances, such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and mixed reality, blockchain and others. The concerns and opportunities arising out of these advances are the replacement of human workers with automation or robots with advantages such as lower costs, less errors and increased productivity. At the same time, humans are now living longer, requiring more resources in later life, and relying on inadequate medical, social and economic systems and structures to take care of their health and well-being. Such workers, who were indispensable to the growth of economies, are now findings themselves out of the workforce, becoming replaced by younger generations as well as non-human workers. The convergence of these two important trends warrants further attention and research to understand the challenges and opportunities arising out of the growth of technological advances in the context of rapidly aging populations of societies that need long term care. What does the Future of Work hold for an aging workforce as rapid technological and social changes impact how work gets done and how societies respond? Already, research has demonstrated that there could be growing inequalities as automation and AI are being used to make decisions impacting the livelihood of communities, such as how welfare is distributed and how people become labeled as potential future criminals. There is also concern about a future that is ‘jobless’ for humans as production becomes fully automated in certain sectors. These concerns become amplified for aging populations in industrialized and wealthy nations who require increased resources, such as long term care and health services, from caregivers that often have migrant backgrounds. Research in this area has shown that often caregivers do not have enough savings to retire and continue to take care of clients who are, in fact, sometimes younger themselves. This project combines the expertise of the principle investigators in the areas of technology and healthcare and aims to understand the implications and consequences of rapid technological and social changes as they relate to an aging workforce in the context of Future of Work. The PI, Prof. Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, has expertise in studying technology and examining the role of technology in creating barriers and opportunities for different segments of the population. The co-PI, Prof. Jennifer Nazareno, has carried out research examining the conditions, opportunities and challenges of aging populations and their health and long-term care needs.

The aims of this project are to 1) understand the ongoing trends at the intersection of Future of Work and aging population, 2) identify opportunities for engaging the aging population as changes in the nature of work take shape via technological advances, and 3) identify challenges for an aging population with respect to their ability to contribute to the workforce.

Data collection will take place via a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches and will be predominantly in the U.S. Interviews will take place with technology CEOs and entrepreneurs, Mayors of various size cities in the U.S., and healthcare providers and workers. The PI has previously worked technologists and Mayors and will utilize her networks to gain access to at least 25 individuals to understand their points of view, experiences and practices or policies. She is also part of a Future of Work council in the city of Boston and will conduct focus groups with members who represent different sectors of work. The co-PI has carried out extensive research on long-term care and will access healthcare providers and workers to conduct interviews with at least 25 of them. Both investigators will also conduct interviews with 20-25 individuals over the age of 65 to gain an understanding of their experiences. Quantitative approaches will be utilized to illustrate trends and changes in the workforce with regard to technological advances and social changes. These trends will be identified using data from the American Community Survey as well as other databases. Given that both investigators have carried out research in relation to technological changes and long-term care, preliminary findings from previous work indicates that technological and social changes will most likely push out older workers from the tech sector while also increasing demands on the labor and services of low-wage long-term care givers. This project will provide in-depth research into the convergence of these two trends and highlight potential opportunities as well as challenges that will face societies and organizations. Any publication resulting from the project will acknowledge the financial support of the CEIBS research fund on “Aged to Perfection: Benefits from An Inactive Population” in Honour of Dr. Gerard Van Schaik, Co-Chairman of CEIBS Board of Directors.