gies. Technical, professional, and managerial work has always entailed high cognitive content. Although there is no clear evidence to suggest that the cognitive levels of these jobs are changing in a significant way, the types of cognitive skills that are required may be changing, as we discuss below.
Interpersonal interactions are becoming more important in many jobs. Interdependence and more direct interactions with other employees, customers, clients, and patients increase the importance of both substantive and emotional interactions that require skills in communications, problem solving, and negotiations.
One purpose of this study was to clarify, with the best evidence available, some of the popular debates about the future of work and provide a richer interpretive framework for tracking changes in work in the future. We summarize our judgments on these issues here.
The evidence cautions us against making definitive statements about unidirectional trends. Although some trends do appear to be dominant, too much emphasis has heretofore been placed on identifying single trajectories and grand predictions regarding the future of work. Instead, we see increased variance within occupations and multiple options for shaping jobs and for grouping them into occupations. Thus the future of jobs will not be determined solely by the forces of technology, demographics, or markets but by the interaction of these forces with the strategies, missions, organizational structures, and employment policies that decision makers implement in specific settings. Choice remains important even when options are constrained by external events and when consequences for organizations, individuals, and society are imperfectly predictable.
For example, especially in settings in which markets are un-