The Global Commission on the Future of Work Wants Your Thoughts – Part I

  • Laura Monti
  • Conversations, Digital dividends, Digital Equality, Future scenarios, Policies, Reports, Workforce Resiliency
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The ILO’s Future of Work Centenary Initiative invites all member countries to engage in the Future of Work centenary conversations. Over 110 countries participated in the dialogues, which included feedback from expert panels.

As part of the centenary initiative, the ILO formed an independent 28-member Global Commission for the Future of Work, co-chaired by the President of Mauritius and the Prime Minister of Sweden in mid-2017. The Global Commission is mandated to provide deeper analytical reflectionon the changing world of work and produce an independent report on how to achieve a future of work that provides decent and sustainable work opportunities for all.

The Global Commission Wants Your Thoughts

Over the next couple of weeks, we will unpack the key issues and notable challenges highlighted in the 60-page “Inception Report for the Global Commission on the Future of Work” in the Changing World of Work Series. The ILO welcomes your comments and ideas by 30 April 2018, or sooner if possible. Feedback should be sent by email to

A Global Snapshot of the Structural Changes

The future of work will be shaped by emerging and complex megatrends – major structural changes that are sustained and global in nature – of globalization, technology, demography climate change, and others.

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Rapid globalization over the last few decades, largely facilitated by global trade and mobile technologies, like the internet, has led to the internationalization of production, finance, trade, and migration. While global trade and globalization have created many jobs, the 2008 financial crisis also raised questions on whether globalization brings prosperity or merely inequality and injustice.

Technological Change

The debates surrounding the future of work tend to focus on technological innovation. Perhaps due to our overactive imaginations, the idea of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and platforms transforming our economy and the labour market seem like something out of a science-fiction movie. However, the short-term labour-replacing potential of technological innovation will create new opportunities in the medium and long-term. It also challenges us to question those in power on how their domestic labour force can better prepare for the digital future and demand a fairer distribution of technological dividends and capital.  

Demographic Shifts

Current global demographic trends are revealing a new dynamic: a world where the very young and very old represent an increasing share of the population. Emerging and developing economies have a surplus of youth, where as the populations in more advanced economies are becoming increasingly aged. In most advanced economies, policymakers are tending to the needs of an aging population which is putting strain on their public finances and healthcare systems. Meanwhile, many developing countries could enjoy substantial demographic dividends in terms of economic growth, productivity, and social development if they are able to take advantage of their large youthful populations.

Climate Change

Climate change will play a major role in the future of work. The efforts to mainstream the green economy – a low carbon future – are motivated by the fact that continued environmental degradation is likely to destroy jobs and livelihoods, having the largest impact on the most vulnerable. In the medium and long term, the future of decent work and environmental sustainability must go hand-in-hand towards a resilient future. A just transition to the green economy is required for both individuals and firms.

Mapping Global Transformations

To get a clearer picture of the various structural changes taking place, the World Economic Forum has started to map out the linkages between various global transformations, such as the Digital Economy and Society. To take a closer look, go to WEF’s Mapping Global Transformations.


#ICYMI: The@ILO recently launched a newsletter to keep you informed of all of our events, research and publications on the future of work. Read the first edition of “Future of Work Focus”

The Changing World of Work Series

This article is a part of the Changing World of Work Series, which examines the “Inception Report for the Global Commission on the Future of Work” by highlighting its key findings and conclusions. The series aims to unpack and explore the emerging research and conversations driving how the world of work is evolving today.  

Feature photo credit: ILO