Oxford2050: Work and learning

Artist impression showing a high-tech laboratory of the future, including scientists working with augmented reality goggles.

  • Oxford will have full employment 
  • The city will be a global centre for the knowledge-based economy
  • All Oxford residents will benefit from the economy

In 2050, Oxford will have full employment and the benefits of the city’s successful knowledge-based economy will be shared by all the city’s residents.

With its world-leading universities and hospitals, Oxford will have nurtured and grown its thriving knowledge-based economy to safeguard workers from the potential threat of automation. Oxford will be a global centre for the knowledge-based economy and innovation in research, education, high-tech start-ups, low carbon technologies and health.

Knowledge-based businesses will be clustered in science parks in and around the borders of the city, particularly in the Northern Gateway and Osney Mead, to encourage networking, and the sharing of ideas and opportunities. But, with improved transport links, they will also be strongly connected to Oxfordshire’s ‘knowledge spine’ – from Science Vale in the south to Begbroke and Bicester in the north – and to other knowledge-based economies in the UK, particularly, via the ‘knowledge arc’, to Milton Keynes, Cambridge and the Thames Valley.

“Oxford should be an unrivalled world-class city for research, learning and breakthrough innovation. We should build on our strengths. If we can get do that, then lots of other things will follow.”

Michael, Oxford OX2

Oxford’s universities will be among the best in the world, and will be able to attract the world’s top talent. Entrepreneurial graduates will be encouraged and nurtured to create start-up businesses within Oxford at the science parks, enabling Oxford to retain the world’s top talent within the city.

“The University is the major source of jobs and innovation in Oxford. Efforts should be made to ensure Oxford remains one of the best universities in the world, and more should be done to encourage spin off companies from university research.”

Angus, Oxford OX5

To ensure that everyone can benefit from the dynamism of the local economy, Oxford’s schools will be highly proficient and experienced in preparing young people for apprenticeships, and professional and graduate education and training.

Residents will also have accessible and affordable lifelong learning opportunities, enabling people to move between jobs and sectors of the local economy. This greater flexibility of the workforce will support the maintenance of full employment, and mitigate the potential loss of jobs through automation.

Citizens will have the opportunity to realise their career aspirations and to maximise their life chances in Oxford.

Our successful knowledge-based economy and dynamic workforce will help boost the city’s wider economic base and create new businesses across all sectors, including leisure, retail, tourism, culture and manufacturing.

Oxford will remain a world-famous travel destination and will continue to attract visitors from around the globe. The city’s tourism sector will be nurtured to grow, and will be focussed on longer-term stays that benefit the city’s wider economy, rather than day trips.

“To make sure Oxford continues to be a thriving city we need to build on our economic success, but we need to make sure this benefits all residents. One way to do this is to ensure everyone has access to lifelong learning opportunities.”

Lena, Oxford OX5

New technologies will enable more people to work from home, or at communal workspaces across the city. These technologies will also enable a wide range of jobs to be carried out at home – not just those that are knowledge-based, but also, for example, the micro-manufacturing of goods.

Economic hubs and shared workspaces will lead to closer ties between town and gown, and better collaboration between Oxford’s different sectors – education, business, tourism, arts, community and voluntary – which will enhance each, and create new opportunities and innovations.

“It is important that economic benefits are shared amongst those in more deprived areas of the city, and that we build a cohesive community between those born and bred here as well as those coming for specialist skilled work and study.”

Jessica, Oxford OX4

Automation, more flexible working and a potential universal basic income will enable Oxford residents, should they want to, to reduce their work hours. This will not only have a positive impact on wellbeing, but it will provide residents with more time to volunteer at local charities, and entrepreneurs more time to create new and innovative start-ups – whether those are businesses, charities or social enterprises.

Although local authorities will give entrepreneurs the freedom and space to create new start-ups, regulations will ensure that everyone is paid at least the Oxford Living Wage and that there are proper employment protections.

Artist's impression of a city centre work hub, including people working on laptops and drinking coffee in a collaborative space

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