CEEP together with its European cross-sectoral social partner counterparts are fully engaged to tackle in their work programme 2019-2021 the difficult question of the future of work. In particular, the topics of digitalisation and skills development have been carefully selected as key priorities for negotiations for the year 2019.

The world of work is transforming at a rapid pace and these new transitions call for decisive action at all levels. Many opportunities lie ahead to improve the quality of working lives, expand choice and provide new flexible instruments at workplace level, address the skills mismatches and labour shortages, tackle the gender gap, and much more. Yet without decisive action we risk heading for a world that widens uncertainties for employers and workers. In a recently-published report, the Global Commission on the Future of Work of the ILO recommends to address the following priorities:

  • Increasing investment in people’s capabilities
  • Increasing investment in the institutions of work
  • Increasing investment in decent and sustainable work

Public services’ employers are deeply impacted by technological advances – artificial intelligence, automation and robotics – which will create new jobs and transform the existing ones, but those who lose their jobs in this transition may be the least equipped to seize the new opportunities. Today’s skills will not match the jobs of tomorrow and newly acquired skills may quickly become obsolete. The greening of our economies will create millions of jobs as we adopt sustainable practices and clean technologies, but other jobs will disappear as countries scale back their carbon- and resource-intensive industries. Changes in demographics are no less significant. Expanding youth populations in some parts of the world and ageing populations in others may place pressure on labour markets and social security systems, yet in these shifts lie new possibilities.

Social partners all over Europe need to seize the opportunities presented by these changes to create a brighter future and deliver economic security, equal opportunities and social justice – and ultimately reinforce the fabric of our societies. This topic will be high on the European Union’s agenda for the years to come. The Commission is preparing a high-level conference  to take place in Brussels on 9 April to address all these issues, inviting social partners, governments at all level and civil society to debate and exchange solutions and practices. CEEP together with its members will identify and highlight the main challenges faced by public services’ employers and identify solutions and practices to be shared at EU level to accompany these deep transformations.

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