6 Career Trends in the 2019 ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work Report

The ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work was set up in 2017 and their report, released in March 2019 is a veritable feast for anyone concerned with global trends related to learning, work, careers and labour. The Commission gives ten Recommendations for a “human-centered agenda for the future of work” that aims to put people at the centre of economic and social policy, as well as business practice. They provide guidance on what individuals, institutions and nations need to think about and do. In this blog I will highlight the ten ILO Commission Recommendations and share career tips on six of them as career trends to engage with. The Commission states that “Our aspiration has been for the report to portray the urgency of  the changes  that the world of  work is facing and to  provide ideas on how to  manage and leverage these transformations.” The 10 recommendations are outlined in the table below.

Human-centered agenda for the future of work – 10 Recommendations
Increasing investment in people’s capabilities
1.   Recognize a universal entitlement to lifelong learning and establish an effective lifelong learning system that enables people to acquire skills, upskill and reskill throughout their life course.
2.   Step up investments in the institutions, policies and strategies that will support people through future of work transitions, building pathways for youth into labour markets, expanding choices for older workers to remain economically active and proactively preparing workers for labour market transitions.
3.   Implement a transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality by making care an equal responsibility of men and women, ensuring accountability for progress, strengthening the collective representation of women, eliminating gender-based discrimination and ending violence and harassment at work.
4.   Strengthen social protection systems to guarantee universal coverage of social protection from birth to old age to workers in all forms of work, including self-employment, based on sustainable financing and the principles of solidarity and risk sharing.
Increasing investment in the institutions of work
5.   Establish a Universal Labour Guarantee that provides a labour protection floor for all workers, which includes fundamental workers’ rights, an “adequate living wage”, limits on hours of work and safe and healthy workplaces.
6.   Expand  time sovereignty by  crafting working-time arrangements that give workers greater choice over scheduling and working hours so that they can balance work and private life, subject to the company’s needs for greater flexibility, as well as guaranteed minimum hours.
7.   Actively promote collective representation of workers and employers and social dialogue through public policies.
8.   Harness and manage technology in support of decent work and adopt a “human-in-command” approach to technology.
Increasing investment in decent and sustainable work
9.   Create incentives to promote investments in key areas for decent and sustainable work.
10.     Reshape business incentive structures to encourage long-term investments in the real economy and develop supplementary indicators of progress towards well-being, environmental sustainability and equality.
Career Trends Analysis and Implications for Your Career Management
 RECOMMENDATION 1 – A Universal Entitlement and Systems for Lifelong Learning – to acquire skills upskill and reskill throughout life

Lifelong learning is a career trend that I have covered in previous blog and webinar to discuss it further, [READ: https://ennielifecoach.com/2019/05/14/learning-and-lifelong-learning-exploring-key-future-of-work-trends/]. However, the framing in the ILO first recommendation is critical to note here. To empower people and help them to thrive, ILO is recommending that lifelong learning be made an entitlement for everyone, not an optional extra or an individual choice. Whereas lifelong learning is defined and has always been see as “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated”[1] pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifelong_learning ILO is also specific about what programs or initiatives supporting lifelong learning should enable people to do. They should be able to acquire knowledge, to reskill which is learning something new or taking a different path and upskill which could be adding a few new elements to enhance what you are already know or are doing. The report is also specific that this should cover formal learning, informal learning and it should be result in inter-generational social mobility, that is, changes from one family generation to the other to have a better lifestyle or means of living. [READ: https://www.worldbank.org/en/events/2018/05/22/intergenerational-mobility-around-the-world ]

ILO also recommends that the objective should be for governments, organisations and society to develop a lifelong learning ecosystem to provide resources and support lifelong learning behaviours and practices.

Career TIP – Practice lifelong learning, as well as Develop and Use Your own Personal Learning Ecosystem.
  • Lifelong learning should not be an optional extra for you, but an integral part of your career management plan.
  • Have learning plans, take steps to learn daily and utilize a personal learning network, as well as developing a personal learning ecosystem.
Personal Learning Ecosystem Infographic
RECOMMENDATION 2 – Support people through Future of Work Transitions

People are expected to know how to navigate change in different stages of life through support from the social structures and even professional spaces they are part of. The report mentions 3 types of transition for – young people it’s tougher to do “school-to-work” transition in the future of work and for older workers it is the need for expanded choices so that they remain economically active and are not cut off at retirement age 65 in most countries.

For all workers it’s the ever-increasing labour market context and institutional changes that result in more job or career path changes than in the past and future of work induced transitions. These transitions are an additional layer to standard change that comes with each life stage. ILO says this requires collective action beyond individual or social support network action and stepping up multi-stakeholder investments to support people through fast paced and recurrent change.

ILO Recommended actions include: offering partial or optional retirement, changing the education system and curriculum to focus more on digital skills, entrepreneurship and greater investment by governments in personal employment services (career management services) that combine digital services and personal counselling and improving the provision of labour market information to support career decision-making.

Mandating this would be a huge stride in Africa where public and government funded career development policies and career advice services are very limited. All these recommendations mean societal changes in how career information and decisions are socialized and practiced, as well as, at a personal level we all need to focus more on our career management knowledge, skills and practice.

The old adage, “the only constant thing in life is change”, has never been more applicable than it is now. We exist in extraordinary times, where we all need to develop higher level capacity for seeing, assessing, understanding and successfully navigating change.

CAREER TIP – Change in careers and life is now constant. Understand Change and Be skilled in Navigating it with Support.
RECOMMENDATION 3 – Transformative Agenda for Gender Equality 

This is one recommendation they acknowledge as needing all hands-on deck and a three-level approach to resolve – the public space, the family space and one’s own personal space or self-concept. Gender equality does not equal a “women’s issue”. It is about collectively working to transform socially ascribed gender roles, perceptions, stand-points, practices, traditions, culture and realities, that have nothing to do with one’s sex or biology. Here the report points to the need to make visible, recognise and share unpaid care work in the home such as childcare, household management, taking care of the elderly, cooking and cleaning, as a precondition for creating real gender equality opportunities outside the home. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_role

ILO recognizes that women are the more marginalized in this recommendation and points to the need for strengthening women’s voice and leadership, as well as eliminating all forms of violence and harassment in homes, public places and at work as a pre-requisite for gender equality. Their data also shows that globally women still receive 20% less pay than men in similar roles, so they recommend the implementation of pay transparency policies as part of transformational gender equality work.

CAREER TIP – Transform at a personal, family and society level and understand the changing roles of women and men in life and work.

One will have to generalize here.

  • For men in general, this means being aware of and transforming the socio-cultural privilege that is inherent in your being born male and the power and opportunities that follow.
  • For women in general, it is having similar awareness, but from the perspective of knowing that you have more of an uphill to climb out of socially ascribed expectations of behavior and roles that may limit your career development.
  • For collective action – culture is not static, it can be changed.
RECOMMENDATION 4 – Expanding Time Sovereignty for Workers

There is recognition from the Commission that with the changing nature of work and life roles, there is need for a new understanding between employers and employees in terms of working hours. ILO argues that workers need to meet organisation needs and their contractual obligations, but with greater autonomy over their working time. Employers are encouraged to harness technology to increase flexible working arrangements and create real choices over control of work schedules between work and personal life demands.

CAREER TIP – Practice work-life integration to support the blending of home and work responsibilities in ways that support wellness.  
RECOMMENDATION 5 – Harnessing and Managing Technology for Decent Work

Digitalization offers opportunities as different forms of employment such as the gig economy emerge as an option. [READ: https://ennielifecoach.com/2019/06/03/alternative-work-and-career-arrangements-trends-the-gig-economy-side-hustles-and-5-tips-for-you/] However, ILO recognizes that there is labour rights are violated on digital labour platform providers and their clients by not offering social protection measures as most traditional employers do. There is also the challenge of these platforms spanning several countries and legal systems. The Commission recommends taking a “human-in-command” approach to AI and that an international governance system be set up to ensure service providers and their clients respect minimum rights.

 RECOMMENDATION 6 – Establishing a Universal Labour Guarantee for All

In recognition of the challenges elaborated on above in Recommendation 5, the Commission also recommends that there should be a Universal Labour Guarantee for all despite the contractual arrangement or type of work that someone is doing. This would look at having a living wage, maximum hours of work in a day and protection in terms of safety and health.

 CAREER TIP – Develop your Career Research and Digital skills

[READ: https://ennielifecoach.com/2019/05/22/tip-sheet-how-to-conduct-career-research-5-tips-and-5-resources/ ]

  • Understand how the economy works and your legal entitlements as a worker,
  • Know how to find and use Labour Market Information for Career Management.

In closingthis report is rich in relevant analysis, recommendations and is a useful roadmap for understanding future of work issues from a human-centered perspective. The 6 Career Tips shared should help you to take action in response to these trends.

Want to hear more! Join me on Thursday 13th June for the Weekly Take-a-Break and Learn Webinar focused on career trends. It is at 12PM-1PM GMT or 1PM-2PM Joburg time. Connect via Facebook Live using: http://www.facebook.com/EnnieCareerCoach/ 

Individuals: If you need support on how to utilise this career information for career planning, job search, career progression or CV/resume review, whether currently employed or not, get in touch using the e-mail address provided. Also share and follow this work 😊.

20190309_084039Written by: Ennie Chipembere Chikwema, Career Coach and Learning Expert

E-mail: ennielifecoach@servicesgalore.co.za

LinkedIn Profile: https://za.linkedin.com/in/ennie-chipembere-chikwema-81a30910a

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/EnnieLifeCoach/

Twitter: @EnnieChipembere

Date published:  11 June 2019


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