Politics and Policy

Going Dutch: the prospects for and implications of a four-day working week

A future in which there is less work to be done will radically reshape the economy, with important consequences for investors – including some contrarian implications for the consumer and real-estate sectors.

A shorter working week makes the economy more productive (defined on an output per hour basis), provides more leisure time for all, and generates higher pay. per hour.
Going Dutch: the prospects for and implications of a four-day working week

As many as one in three of you may see your job disappear within the course of the next decade. That is the alarming conclusion from one of a host of recent reports warning that automation will wipe out millions of jobs.1 Just as the rise of robotics has squeezed employment in the manufacturing sector, artificial intelligence is set to erode employment in the services sector.

The associated economic and social transformation will be challenging, but it does not necessarily imply a bleak dystopian future. In fact, one not so- obvious answer to the challenges of demographic and technological change may be welcomed by those affected: a four-day working week.

The employment model in the Netherlands is already based around a typical working week that is substantially shorter than in the UK. A shorter working week makes the economy more productive (defined on an output per hour basis), provides more leisure time for all, and generates higher pay per hour. What’s not to like?

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