Our projects

Our projects

What happens in our local workplaces is linked to national and global trends. Our society and our economy depend on getting the balance right between people, profits and public good. We are here to help them understand the complexity of their challenges as the world around us changes to new ways of thinking and new ways of working.

Today's employers, employees, workplace regulators and legislators face very complex workforce challenges. To achieve the best outcomes for individuals, organisations and the economy they need to understand and address a variety of critical issues affecting employee engagement and productivity.

These issues include:

  • Intergenerational Change
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Workers' health
  • Automation and digital disruption
  • Workers Capital/Superannuation
  • Incomes policy and social goals
  • Climate Change and work
  • Supply Chains and globalisation
  • Profits and Shared Value Creation
  • New Forms of Work Organisation
  • Regulation and the workplace
  • Workforce Planning in a changing world
  • Employment and participation in work
  • Industrial and Employment Relations

The Centre For Workforce Futures has conducted numerous projects since its establishment in 2011 to address such issues. In 2019, its members are undertaking Australian Research Council-funded projects, and government- and industry-funded projects, and it has signed partnership agreements with a number of external organisations.

Please see below for past and current projects.

Research projects 2011–2018

Year(s) Project name Staff MembersNotes
2014–2017 Affinities in Multicultural Australia Lucy Taksa, Ellie Vasta and Fei Guo Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP140100424 ($230,000)
2015–2016 Web-based Analytical Platform for China Datasets Fei Guo and Zhiming Cheng Macquarie University Research Infrastructure Scheme Grant ($150,000)
2015 Analyses of Historical Patterns of Schooling, Religion, and Socio-demographics of Australia’s Population and Creation of Public Access Databases Nick Parr, Lucy Taksa and Nikki Balnave Catholic Education Commission ($49,706) and Macquarie University Enterprise Partnerships Scheme Pilot Research Grant ($49,706)
2016 Analyses of Historical Patterns of Schooling, Religion, and Socio-demographics of Australia’s Population and Creation of Public Access Databases Nick Parr, Lucy Taksa and Nikki
Catholic Education Commission ($70,000) to extend research on the project entitled
2017 Analyses of Historical Patterns of Schooling, Religion, and Socio-demographics of Australia’s Population and Creation of Public Access Databases Nick Parr, Lucy Taksa and Nikki Balnave Catholic Education Commission ($50,000) to extend research on the project entitled
2018 Enabling longitudinal research on Religion, Education and Population in NSW through a Public Access Database Nick Parr, Lucy Taksa and Nikki Balnave Macquarie University Small Research Infrastructure Scheme ($69,626) and Faculty of Business and Economics ($15,000)
2018 'Diversity in the Workforce' multi-country survey Lucy Taksa The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris-Dauphine University, Australian Human Resource Institute (AHRI) and Centre for Workforce Futures, Macquarie University
 A National Portable Long Service Leave Scheme
  • Professor Ray Markey
  • Ms Shauna Ferris
  • Dr Tim Kyng
  • Dr Catriona Lavermicocca
  • Dr Salut Muhidin
  • Dr Sharron O'Neill
  • Associate Professor Nick Parr
  • Dr Louise Thornthwaite
  • Dr Chris Wright (USyd)
 Superannuation Regulation and Fund Performance
  • Professor Ray Markey
  • Dr Louise Thornthwaite
  • Associate Professor Sue Wright
  • Ms Shauna Ferris
  • Dr Mike Rafferty (USyd)
 Organising Works 20th Anniversary 
 Impact of NSW Workers Compensation Legislation 2012 
 Australia Anywhere Working (Telework) Research Network 
 Workforce Futures and Climate Change Project 
 Effectiveness of procurement regulation
  • Dr Chris F. Wright
 Supply Chains and Aviation Safety 
 Population Challenges for the Local Court of New South Wales 
 Employee Voice in Australia
  • Professor Paul Gollan
  • Professor Adrian Wilkinson

New projects 2019

The Centre For Workforce Futures has numerous projects commencing in 2019.

We are extremely pleased to announce that the Centre's members were successful in obtaining Australian Research Council grants to support their research. Two ARC-funded projects are located in the Centre — one Discovery grant and one Discovery Early Career Award. Two other Discovery grants have been obtained by members in the Arts Faculty at Macquarie University.

Projects Located in Centre for Workforce Futures

Project Name Project MembersDescription
Demographic and social dimensions of migrant ageing and wellbeing in Australia (funded by Australian Research Council Discovery Scheme) Chief Investigators (CIs): Fei Guo, Lucy Taksa, Zhiming Cheng, Massimiliano Tani
Partner Investigators:
Lihua Liu (University of Southern California) and Klaus Zimmermann (Bonn University)
This project aims to examine the deterioration of health and wellbeing in migrant communities in Australia over time. Some migrant groups suffer higher mortality and morbidity in older age, despite having better health than non-migrants upon arrival in the host country. By consolidating and analysing a wide range of quantitative data and conducting qualitative fieldwork among ten migrant groups in Australia, the project aims to produce new estimates of healthy life expectancy and investigate how social capital sustains health throughout the ageing process. The project will inform government policymakers, migrant aged care service providers, and migrant communities in supporting quality of life outcomes.
A history of Australian businesswomen since 1880 (funded by Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Award Scheme) Chief Investigator: Catherine Bishop
Lucy Taksa
This project aims to produce a substantive history of Australian female small business owners since 1880. It will introduce new methodologies and directions to business and feminist history and engage in global conversations about historical female entrepreneurship. The project seeks to provide new knowledge about the gendered nature of economic, legal and networking structures and how they have impeded or supported female participation in small business; it will trace representations of businesswomen over time. The project expects to enable broader, socially-embedded and historically-informed understandings of how gender has operated in business, and contribute to current debates about gender, diversity and small business.
Employee Engagement at Port of NewcastleDaryll HullProfessor Daryll Hull will undertake a whole-of-organisation engagement study with the Port of Newcastle starting in February 2019. This follows the signing of a 5-year collaboration agreement with the Centre. This is the initial project under that agreement. It will be based on narrative research methods developed over the past 4 years and successfully applied in other organisations. The outcome will be a clear view of the Port organisation and its work culture, leading to further research into possible strategies for workforce development.
Australian Maritime College (AMC) collaboration on new technologiesDaryll HullUnder the recently signed collaboration agreement between the Centre and the College a series of projects will commence. The first of these is a coordinated review of the use application of drone technology in ports and shipping. This will involve the Centre, AMC and at least one national shipping company. Professor Daryll Hull will lead this work on behalf of the Centre.
Fair Work Commission living databaseDaryll Hull, Anna Booth, Nour Dados

Work will be undertaken on the creation of a “living database” for all knowledge concerning what has been termed “new approaches” in collective bargaining in Australia. This project combines the efforts of Fair Work Australia, the Centre and various industrial organisations. It will be based at the Centre, and will be accessible and open to researchers across the campus and beyond. It will contain both current and historical information. Professor Daryll Hull and Deputy President Anna Booth of the Fair Work Commission will co-design the database.

Preliminary research has been undertaken by Dr Nour Dados, Post Doc Fellow in the Centre.

Skills Verification with QTACDaryll HullThe Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) and the Centre plus industry partners will undertake a pilot study in skills verification software subject to negotiation for a beta site in Queensland, on the ground in a major transport company. The project was outlined in the Lighthouse News in December 2018. Professor Daryll Hull is facilitating a network of partners during 2019 to bring this project to fruition in 2020.
Social Business Incubation (SBI)Daryll Hull, Graham West, Mauricio Marrone

The Enterprise Partnership Agreement between the Centre and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP) has finished the first stage — development of a business case to roll out a new form of business start-up support in regional NSW. Termed Social Business Incubation (SBI), it proposes a blend of commercial business incubation and social enterprise. During 2019 the business case will be marketed to SVDP philanthropy networks and to Government. The project is designed to run for 5 years and will seek an investment of $14 million. The Centre will provide monitoring and evaluation of the project over the 5 years.

The project is under the supervision of Professor Daryll Hull, with the support and leadership of The Hon Graham West (Honorary Fellow of the Centre). Dr Mauricio Marrone from the Faculty of Business and Economics was also engaged in the business case preparation.

Members’ Projects — External to Centre

Project Name Project MembersDescription
The case for work Chief Investigator: Professor Jean-Philippe Deranty This project aims to make a substantial contribution to theoretical debates about the future of work. There is growing concern that technological advances will lead to a crisis of work in the near future and challenge the idea that work is central to social inclusion and personal development. This project will systematically map out and respond to the arguments against the centrality of work. The expected outcome is a significant reduction in complexity regarding fundamental assumptions in debates on future work. The project will aim to advance the national conversation on a crucial issue of social and economic policy.
Challenging the Bystander Effect via documentary film Chief Investigator: Kathryn Millard This project aims to challenge the Bystander Effect. Social experiments from the 1960s have entrenched the view that in groups we fail to act to prevent harm to others in public emergencies. Film has played a significant role in promoting this theory. Drawing on an innovative screen performance method, this project is likely to generate knowledge about how bystanders can co-ordinate their actions to safely intervene; it will result in an innovative and accessible documentary. The project has the capacity to contribute to a reduction of violence in public spaces and more effective responses in the face of emergencies.
Communicating with people who have limited English proficiencyChief Investigator: Professor Ingrid PillerThis sociolinguistic project aims to investigate how fluent English speakers interact with people who have limited proficiency. In contemporary Australia such mundane interactions may determine employment, education or health outcomes. While research into language barriers has mostly focused on the experiences of migrants from non-English-speaking backgrounds, this project will investigate how English speakers deal with increasing linguistic diversity. Expected outcomes include an understanding of the role of majority members in facilitating the integration of newcomers. This will provide significant socioeconomic benefits for institutions and individuals as they navigate everyday intercultural communication.
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