The G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting is due to take place on 1 September 2019 in Matsuyama, Japan. Several stakeholders working groups of employers, trade unions and civil society organisations have already met and produced sets of recommendations to influence the outcomes of the ministerial meeting.

The topic of the new forms of work and gender equality are very high on the agenda with the issues of digitalisation, decarbonisation, discrimination and inequalities figuring prominently.

As a follow-up to the G20 Employment held in Argentina in February, the future G20 employment Japan will likely pursue the same line of thoughts. Amongst others, leaders of the G20 should emphasise that the future of work is likely to see changes to jobs and tasks which will bring about deep and rapid shifts in the skills requirements. It is therefore vital that G20 countries work to ensure broad access to quality skills training to address skills mismatches and skills gaps. There should be more support for workers to develop the relevant skills through re-skilling and up-skilling strategies in order to increase their employability.

The development and implementation of comprehensive skills anticipation mechanisms for better identification of future skills needs should be further encouraged. Countries should also commit to fostering international cooperation and to improving our labour market information systems to deliver internationally comparable data. The building of sound skills policies also requires a whole-of-government approach and effective social dialogue. Moreover, multi-stakeholder dialogue with employers, workers, governments, and education and training institutions in order to promote continuous information exchange and improve policy design and implementation will be essential to ensure these policies’ success.

For Gender equality: In order to prevent the widening of existing gender gaps and the creation of new ones in the Future of Work, the focus should also be on enabling women to participate equally in the digital economy, increasing the participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) related skills training and enter STEM-related occupations.

The promotion of lifelong learning policies should also be accompanied by a more equal distribution of care responsibilities between men and women. Finally the issue of making social protection more sustainable, adaptable and responsive to the new social and labour market dynamics should also be a key topic of discussions of labour ministers, recalling that strong, equitable and well-functioning social protection systems play a crucial role in fostering employment, reducing labour market insecurity and promoting social justice and inclusive growth.

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