Opening Remarks at the Future of Work Initiative: Transformations Affecting the Labour Market in Indonesia

By Francesco d'Ovidio, Director of ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste at the Future of Work Initiative: Transformations Affecting the Labor Market in Indonesia

Statement | Jakarta, Indonesia | 03 November 2016
A Future that Works for All

The Changing World of Work

The world of work is shaped by the decisions and actions that women and men and that employers, workers and governments take every day.

There are other forces transforming it too:
  • Economies are still recovering from one of the worst economic crises in history with more 200 million unemployed women and men globally
  • Sluggish growth forecasts make it increasingly unlikely that we will be able to generate some 40 million new jobs needed every year – and young women and men are particularly affected and concerned
  • Inequality is increasing almost everywhere, between and within countries, and undermining the fabric of societies everywhere
Three key drivers of the monumental changes in the world of work include:
  • Technological advances and innovation in robotics, computing power, artificial intelligence, medical sciences and nano-technology
  • Globalization and the changing and increasingly fragmented organization of production and work
  • Shifting employment relationships and an increase in vulnerable employment – with women much more at risk than men
At the same time, we are faced with the growing impact of climate change, demographic growth, conflicts and migration – to name just a few.

These profound transformations reshape the range of policies needed by governments to navigate through a dynamic and increasing complex mix of challenges. We need to better understand what these transformations mean for governments, employers and workers – for businesses and societies – and particularly for young women and men.

Unprecedented Opportunities

But we are also faced with an unprecedented opportunity to shape the Future We Want. Here I refer to the:
  • Adoption of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals – and the recognition that decent work is key to their achievement
  • New global climate agreement at COP21 in Paris which recognizes the key role of the world of work in the transition towards a green economy
  • Foresighted decision of the ILO to launch seven Centenary Initaitives – including one to ensure that we get a Future that Works for All
Governments, employers and workers are not passive bystanders. They are agents of change, who are able to develop new policies and build stronger institutions that make the world of work a better place for present and future generations.

As the knowledge leader on world of work issues and convener of the world’s government, employer and worker representatives under one roof, the ILO is well placed to facilitate a global debate and help shape a future that works for all.

It is not often that the ILO and its constituents have the opportunity to take a step back, look at the broader picture, and address all the implications of the trends and transformations that are shaping the world of work.

So let us seize this unique opportunity to influence and shape the world of work that we want to see in the future, as they have done in the past.

The Future of Work Initiative in a Nutshell

The Future of Work Initiative was launched by the Director-General of the ILO at the International Labour Conference in June 2015.

It is without a doubt the most important initiative for the ILO during the next three-and-a-half years in the run up to our 100th anniversary in 2019.

Bringing together government, employer and worker representatives in all countries to address some of the most pressing policy issues and opportunities of our time, the ILO is uniquely placed
to shape a future that works for all.

The Future of Work Initiative is intended to be a major milestone in the history of the ILO leading up to and beyond its centenary in 2019.

It will equip the organization and its constituents – governments, employers and workers – to successfully take up the challenges of its mandate in its second century.

The Goal of the Future of Work Initiative

The goal of the Future of Work is to generate a shared understanding of the forces transforming the world of work and to equip governments, employers and workers with the knowledge, ideas and policy alternatives to advance the cause of social justice as the ILO enters its second century of work.

It is intended to reinforce the ILO’s voice in international governance and to enhance the services that we provide to our constituents – to governments, unions and employers.

Three Stages of the Initiative

The debate about future of work has already begun and that is great! This uptake is not surprising since jobs, employment, sustainable enterprises and work, as well as inequality and social justice are the most pressing issues everywhere.

2016 is the year of national Future of Work dialogues. We hope that each of our 187 member States, irrespective of their level of development, will make contributions to the global reflection that we have launched about the future of work.

More than 60 countries are currently planning consultations with workers and employers as well as academics, think tanks, businesses and civil society. Consultations have already been held in many countries, including Belgium, Morocco, and the United States. These consultations are generating new knowledge and important insights as well as valuable ideas and solutions.

In 2017 and 2018, a High-Level Global Commission on the Future of Work will be established and conduct its work. The Commission will review and discuss the outcomes of the national consultations, new ILO knowledge and research, and contributions received from leading universities, think tanks, businesses and civil society. The commission will publish its report and recommendations in the course of 2018.

In 2019, during the third and last stage, we will celebrate the centenary with high-level events, tripartite consultations and national debates on the Commission’s report. The 2019 International Labour conference will be the culmination of the Initiative.

Key Principles for Success

The Initiative must be a contribution to the cause of social justice. What perhaps explains the great interest the Initiative is evoking, is that it is launched in a context of great uncertainty and insecurity. And of fear that the direction of change in the world of work is away from – not towards – the achievement of social justice.

The Initiative is an undertaking in which governments, employers and workers in all regions have a major interest, and to which they all have an enormous contribution to make. It builds on the strengths of the ILO’s unique tripartite structure.

The tripartite constituents as well as international organizations, research institutions, universities, civil society and individual personalities will all be given an opportunity to take part in our global reflection on the future of work.

It is critical that the voice of everyone is heard, women as well as men. Indigenous communities, migrants, and informal and rural workers in developing and developed countries. And it is imperative to engage the young women and men whose decisions and actions will shape the future world of work.

Focus of today’s discussion

  • Recognizing that there are many drivers that can eventually affect and give rise to transformations in the labor market, the ILO CO-Jakarta is committed to support the constituents in the dialogue process, in understanding the situations and anticipating scenarios in the context for Indonesia, so that together we can have informed decisions to define the way forward.
  • We would like to support an effective way of encouraging deeper discussions that can provide the level of analysis that we need so we are hosting this session as part of a series, and this will focus on the ’Green Economy’, and the body of work and previous efforts on Green Jobs, where Indonesia has pioneering experience among other ILO member countries in Asia.
  • We have ILO colleagues and technical partners joining us for this session, as they share with us the relevant ILO initiatives, as well as the result of a recent study focused on Indonesia and the possible impacts of the climate change policies on key industry sectors and the labor market. The study can provide the evidence base for anticipated transformations in Indonesia’s GDP, economic activities, more specifically on employment.
  • At the same time, we hope that this will start the process by which you can also explore other drivers further, like technological advancement and digitalization, among others, all towards the end of ensuring that we are prepared to take on transition measures that maximizes opportunities, that is inclusive and fair for all.
  • We remain committed to support the tripartite partners in this process, making available our knowledge resources, specialists and expertise. There currently is a online digital library with papers, reports and books on the future of work. More importantly, we hope that we can help build the your capabilities as key partners in leading this process and making sure that what we will work towards in this ’Future of Work Initiative’ is the future you want and works you.