“The future of work is about to start: let’s get ready!”

May, 7/8 2018 | Workshop | Berlin, Germany

The BMZ and the World Bank hosted experts from politics, academia and civil society at a workshop on the "Future of Work" in preparation for the 2019 World Development Report.

The future of work is a hot-button topic these days. As automation increases and artificial intelligence is integrated into production processes, it seems as if work is losing importance in many fields. Experts estimate that automation may eventually partially or completely eliminate up to 70% of the occupations we know today.

The World Bank’s 2019 World Development Report addresses the kinds of changes societies can expect regarding the future world of work and explores the political decisions needed to exploit the resulting potentials. In the run-up to the report’s release, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and World Bank organized workshop for very intensive, sometimes controversial, but always productive discussion on key issues. Held on May 7 and 8, 2018 in Berlin, it was the 20th event of this kind the GIZ’s Development Policy Forum has organized since 1998.

The workshop focused on current developments in international labour markets and the changing role of labour as a factor in production. Event participants concluded that many nations will need to prioritize building human capital to allow for a flexible response to the labour markets of the future. The new World Bank Human Capital Index was presented to facilitate this process. Workshop participants also discussed the implications of rapidly changing technology on entrepreneurship, global value chains and labour standards. Attendees agreed on the pressing need for a coordinated approach to preserving workers' rights, and for social security instruments that include the informal sector.

The diversity of participants enhanced the quality of the workshop. Attendees included experts from the Federal Ministry of Labour, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, the Confederation of German Employers' Associations, the German Trade Union Confederation, the German Advisory Council on Global Change, the World Economic Forum, academia and civil society. The participation of Shanta Devarajan, currently the Chief Economist of the World Bank Group, underscored the World Bank’s dedication to the consultation process.

The findings from Berlin will be incorporated into the 2019 World Development Report "The Changing Nature of Work".

Photo on top: GIZ/Baller

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