The future of work is not set in stone

On 4–5 April 2019, a Nordic conference on the future of work was held in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference focused on megatrends affecting the labour market in the future.

  • Norway’s Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie, Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Children Ásmundur Einar Daðason and Sweden’s Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson.

    Norway’s Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie, Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Children Ásmundur Einar Daðason and Sweden’s Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson.

    Photo: The Government Offices

  •  ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and Sweden’s Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson

    ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and Sweden’s Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson

    Photo: The Government Offices

  • Some of the representatives at the Reykjavik meeting.

    Some of the representatives at the Reykjavik meeting.

    Photo: The Government Offices

The findings of the report by the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Global Commission on the Future of Work were presented at the conference. The Norwegian research foundation Fafo also presented drivers, institutions and politics from the Nordic research project on the future of work.

A panel discussion linked to both reports was held with the participation of the Nordic labour ministers, the ILO and representatives of international employers and trade organisations. The discussion focused on the capacity to act and moving from words to action.

- Instead of asking ourselves what the future of work will be like, we need to focus above all on how we are to face the future. I would like to highlight four important factors here. Opportunities for retraining and the role of the social partners in promoting this; decent working conditions throughout an entire working life; continuing efforts to create a more gender-equal labour market; and well-equipped welfare systems, says Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson.

Participants included Sweden’s Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson, Norway’s Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie, Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Children Ásmundur Einar Daðason, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) Roberto Suárez Santos, and General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Sharan Burrow.

The material and discussions from the conference will make up the Nordic contribution to the ILO centenary at the International Labour Conference in Geneva later this year.