Background and information note: Employment Policies for Social Justice

The 5th Employment Policy Research Symposium: Employment Policies for Social Justice will be held on 11-12 May 2023, at the ILO in Geneva (with the option of online participation). Organized in partnership with the European Commission Joint Research Centre, the Symposium will bring together economists, specialists, policymakers and social partners to highlight the latest thinking on how integrated national employment policies that are tailored to the needs and circumstances of countries can promote inclusive transitions and social justice.

Meeting document | 04 May 2023

The 5th Employment Policy Research Symposium is a forum to examine original research, network and to learn about cutting-edge analytic techniques and latest policy innovations in the area of employment policies. The Symposium aims to raise the profile and quality of ILO research and policy advice on employment policies and to better align it with a new global vision of how to achieve social justice. Past meetings looked at questions of jobs and skill mismatch, full employment, and employment policies for recovery. The Symposium will discuss existing research on future of work challenges, policy evaluations and implications that can feed into employment policy development for social justice.

Background and key questions to be addressed

Comprehensive national employment policy framework should encompass all elements relevant to employment creation, including supportive macroeconomic policies as well as sustained public and private investment in people and the economy. At the national level, they need to complement social protection policies to ensure that structural transformation and other economic growth factors leave no one behind. Policy coherence and coordination are a condition for progress, whether to react to immediate crises or long-term economic and social challenges. While coherence also matters at the regional and global level, coordinated international cooperation is an important enabler for inclusive structural transformation processes, helping to overcome the increasing divergence between the developed and the developing world.

The ILO has an array of tools and research findings around employment and decent work, often supported by cooperation programmes, including the project on “Building Partnerships on the Future of Work” funded by the EC, and implemented together with the JRC. This project has, through innovative research, added to the wealth of knowledge that will feed into the debate about the right policies to ensure inclusive transitions and social justice. This is why this year’s Symposium is organized jointly with the JRC with the goal to present amongst others the results of the project and debate their policy implications.

The Symposium will focus on key questions including the impact of future of work drivers on structural transformation and labour market transitions, the link between social justice and integrated employment policies, ensuring that structural transformation is inclusive and leaves no one behind, comprehensive frameworks that ensure the creation of more and better jobs and the role of governments and social partners in ensuring employment policies for social justice.


The Symposium will be opened by Mia Seppo, Assistant Director-General, Jobs & Social Protection, ILO; Mikel Landabaso, Director, Fair & Sustainable Economy, JRC European Commission; and Jordi Curell, Director Labour Mobility, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL).

Rick Samans, Director of the ILO Research Department, will deliver the first keynote on Future of work drivers: A curse or a blessing for social justice?

Subsequent parallel sessions on the first day of the symposium will examine the effects of automation on work and their gender dimensions; global shifts in the employment structure; the impact of platformisation and algorithmic management on traditional sectors; and changing labour market transitions for youth, older workers, and informal workers. The sessions will conclude with an overview of the main takeaways from the opening day parallel sessions and their policy implication.

Day two of the Symposium will include the second keynote delivered by Sbusisiwe Sibeko, Parliamentary Budget Office, South Africa, who will speak about macroeconomics and social justice, followed by three panel discussions on a) social justice in the realm of economic and employment policies and b) economic transformation that leaves no one behind: the approach of the Global Accelerator and c) developing/implementing policy frameworks for decent work creation and better labour market transitions.

A tripartite concluding session will review take-away lessons and steps regarding employment policies for social justice, followed by a closing session with concluding remarks by Mikel Landabaso of the JRC European Commission and, Sangheon Lee, Director of the ILO Department for Employment Policy, Job Creation and Livelihoods.

The Symposium will also provide the occasion to launch the second edition of the ILO Global Employment Policy Review during the lunch break of day 2.