Isabella Loaiza Saa Dissertation Defense

Dissertation Title:  Designing Worker-centered tools to Navigate the Future of Work


Leaps in technological progress, and the rise in remote, hybrid, and digital gig work are transforming traditional forms of work, employment, and careers while expanding the professional possibility space. With skills becoming outdated within five years and job tenures growing shorter, workers face the pressure to reskill and shift in their careers more than ever before. Indeed, it is projected that 12 million occupational transitions may need to take place by 2030 in the U.S. alone. Lower-skill workers bear the brunt of the reskilling challenge, and neither academics nor policymakers fully understand the quickly evolving skill landscape to offer sound guidance for workers to invest in the right set of skills to remain relevant. Helping their workforces keep up with technological progress is quickly becoming imperative for employee retention and the companies’ bottom lines.

This dissertation advances a framework for thinking about career journeys by synthesizing different bodies of literature about the future of work and seeks to attain a more profound understanding, grounded in data, regarding the evolution of careers within the context of the contemporary work landscape. Finally, the thesis reports the process and findings from two data-driven tool prototypes to support workers in transitioning within their careers.

Committee members:

Sandy Pentland, Professor Media Lab
Kent Larson, Professor Media Lab
Francesca Grippa, Teaching Professor Northeastern University

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