LAUNCHED: The Future of Work for the People we Serve

by Liam Byrne | 09.10.18 | in: Research, Universities, Science & Skills

Parliamentarians, politicians and policy-makers from around the globe have come together to spell out the ten key challenges for spreading the risks and sharing the rewards of automation as new technology transforms the future of work for the world’s 3.2 billion workers.

In a new book, The Future of Work for the People We Serve, commissioned by the global Parliamentary Network on the IMF and World Bank, a diverse group of twenty-five of the world’s leading experts and politicians set out a roadmap for navigating the shifts triggered by automation, artificial intelligence and demographic changes over the decades ahead.

The book comes as the World Bank publishes its annual World Development Report, with a special focus on the future of work, and as G20 leaders prepare for their summit later in the year in Argentina, which will consider new frameworks to help the world’s leading economies adjust to the digital revolution.

It draws on the ideas and experiences of thirty politicians and policymakers worldwide.

  • Members of the Parliamentary Network – Jeremy Lefroy MP (UK), Olfa Soukri Cherif MP (Tunisia) and Yunus Carrim MP (South Africa) together with David Woollcombe (Peace Child International) – stress the importance of focusing on employment and livelihoods for young people – who will be hit hardest by the rise of automation. They propose a national systems approach backed by a coalition of government, parliament, the private sector and civil society.
  • Nobel laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides and former advisor to Secretary Clinton Alec Ross look at the possibility for job creation in new industries even as old jobs are lost to automation.
  • The Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, argues for cities to be allowed to lead reform of workers’ labour protections, while Singapore’s Senior Minister, Chee Hong Tat, explains the country’s groundbreaking new lifelong learning system and Francois Taddiel, an advisor to President Macron’s administration, sets out a vision for a ‘learning society.’
  • Director of UNI Global Union, Philip Jennings, highlights the surprising opportunities of artificial intelligence for workers, with the potential to raise global GDP 14% by 2030 – as long as its rollout is accompanied by a new social contract.
  • Simeon Djankov, Director of the World Development Report, highlights the urgent need for tax and regulatory frameworks to keep up with the fast-changing digital world.
  • Cornelia Schmidt-Liermann from Argentina – which chairs this year’s G20 – sets out the agenda for the G20’s focus on the Future of Work ahead their summit in November.

The book, edited by Liam Byrne, British MP and former Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the UK Cabinet, is launched today at the meeting of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF at their Annual Meeting, hosted by Indonesia.

Jeremy Lefroy MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF, said:

“Supporting young people in all countries into jobs and livelihoods is one of the key challenges of the age. We face both the changing nature of work in the digital age and the huge numbers of young people coming of age now and over the coming 30 years.

“They are our constituents whom we are elected to represent. Their future is of the utmost importance and concern to us. It is therefore our responsibility as parliamentarians to encourage our governments, businesses, civil society and development organisations to pool our energy, ideas and resources together to tackle this challenge.”

Michal Rutkowski, World Bank Senior Director for the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, said:

“Technology is changing how people work and making advanced and socio-emotional skills more important. It is therefore critical to invest in the human capital of young people to ensure they have the skills needed for the new world of work,”

Helge Berger, Assistant Director, IMF Research Department, said:

“In a rapidly changing world, the future of work is not easy to predict. Technological advances promise higher productivity and income, but they also act as possible sources of disruption. The IMF anticipates that many jobs and workers will be affected by developments in artificial intelligence, automation, and robotization.

“Policymakers—including members of parliament—should focus on policies that make the best possible use of a country’s technological change while making sure benefits are widely shared by its population. This includes measures to lift skill levels so they can match demand, facilitate the mobility of workers and resources across sectors, increase access to education and training, and more evenly redistribute the gains of growth.”

Liam Byrne MP, the book’s editor, said:

“We now live, not in an era of change, but a change of era. And unless we transform old ways of doing business, we simply will not unlock the real potential of new technologies – nor help ensure we share fairly the new wealth that we know business can create.

“This new book is an essential guide to politicians and parliamentarians everywhere as they step up to meet the hopes and fears of the people they came into public life to serve.”


Jeremy Lefroy MP:

Gergana Ivanova (Coordinator, Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the IMF):

Liam Byrne MP:

Notes to editors:

  1. The Future of Work For the People We Serve, edited by Liam Byrne MP, can be downloaded here.
  2. The book will be launched at the Annual Meeting of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Money Fund, hosted in Indonesia, on Tuesday 9 October.
  3. The ten lessons laid out in the book are:
  4. Understanding the impact of automation on the existing workforce
  5. Scoping the opportunities of industries of the future
  6. Redoubling efforts to unleash the power of enterprise and new firms
  7. Working hard to connect young people to jobs
  8. Developing new strategies to raise employment and enterprise rates amongst women
  9. In the labour market, rebuilding systems for social protection and lifelong learning
  10. In capital markets, ensuring financial services are a proactive force for creating good new jobs
  11. Ensuring corporate governance is fit for the future
  12. Letting cities pioneer change in industry and social safety nets

Reflecting on how the rules of economic institutions must change to ensure new wealth is wealth that is fairly shared

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