The Future of Work - the IPSP Chapter on Employment

David Marsden , Jacqueline O'Reilly and Bernhard Ebbinghaus
Session Organizers:
Werner Eichhorst and Nadya Araujo Guimaraes
Friday, June 24, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
255 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
The International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP) Report gathers the state-of-the-art knowledge about the desirability and possibility of all relevant forms of structural social change. It synthesizes the knowledge on the principles, possibilities, and methods for improving the main institutions of the modern societies. The IPSP Report seeks consensus whenever possible and focuses on the most important issues involving substantial changes and bearing on the long run perspective. The IPSP Report draws on the competence of a few hundred academics (of all relevant disciplines, perspectives, and regions of the world) willing and able to engage in a true interdisciplinary dialogue on key dimensions of social progress. The IPSP Report, to be completed in 2017, will be addressed to all social actors, movements, organizations, politicians and decision-makers, in order to provide them with the best expertise on questions that bear on social change.

Within in the context of IPSP one chapter will be devoted to the issue of employment, taking an interdisciplinary and global perspective. The main aim of this chapter is to summarize our understanding of major changes and dynamics in the world of work and to assess policy options with the aim of reconciling flexibility and security, trying to achieve inclusive labor markets and ‘good jobs’ for all. We argue that the world of work is constantly changing. Demographic shifts, technological innovations, institutional reforms and global economic integration affect the way people work. Both the demand and the supply of labor is fundamentally different from earlier times. Over the last decades, the global labor force has increased, and it has become more diverse in terms of age, gender and ethnicity. Technological innovations have a major impact on occupations and industries, changing the ways economies in different world regions, in both developed and developing countries, work along with new division of labor that are facilitated by global economic integration. Taking a global perspective we can also see growing diversity in terms of job types ranging along the whole continuum from permanent formal employment to different forms of non-standard work, in particular part-time work, fixed-term contracts and agency work to on-call work and the large segment of informality. Increasing flexibility can also be observed with respect to working time and mobile working. While today’s labor markets can probably create more jobs than in earlier decades, the issues of unemployment, worklessness, exclusion and discrimination are far from being solved, neither is the potential physical and mental health hazards involved in some work environments. Against this backdrop, policy choices at the global, national, regional or sectoral level are essential, taking into account the different context conditions. Therefore, core policy areas such as education and training at different stages in life, collective bargaining and wage setting, but also the role of labor market regulation, social protection and active labor market policies needs to addressed, trying to strike a new balance between flexibility and security in order to stimulate the creation of more good jobs for all.