Published on 15th June 2018
The picture painted by the 2018 World Employment Conference is that today’s world of work seems full of opposites. People want flexibility in how and where they work but they also want security regarding their social rights. Labour markets must be agile to adapt to changing demand for skills; yet they should also remain stable to guarantee employment prospects.
“We need to reconcile those opposites if we want the world of work to be open, inclusive and sustainable,” says Annemarie Muntz, President of the World Employment Confederation (WEC). “Our sector believes that we have a responsibility to support workers and companies through these transformations. We can use our knowledge of labour markets to simplify the complexity.”
“Our sector is already offering many solutions and concrete initiatives, for instance on training and access to property for temporary workers,” adds Hans Leentjes, WEC Vice-President. “We must build on those best practices and we will work closely with all our members to enable social innovation at the national and global level.’’
Over the two days, about 400 participants from more than 40 countries discussed the different facets of managing an extended workforce. They heard from inspiring speakers like economist David McWilliams who encouraged to think unconventionally; gender diversity expert Peter Cosgrove who challenged people to change their perceptions and cross-cultural leadership specialist Fons Trompenaars who showed how great leaders are the ones who manage to innovate and combine opposites.
Several members from the World Employment Confederation were also part of various panels and shared their vision and experiences on topics such as talent and career management, bridging the skills gaps and the new employment models.
WEC members-only day: spotlight on social innovation
Annual conferences are also the opportunity for the World Employment Confederation to gather members for internal meetings and hold its General Assembly. Two new board members were elected: Charles Cameron as the new chair of the National Federations Committee and Mark Toth as the new representative from Manpower. “Share and Grow. These are the two themes that will underpin my chairmanship of the NFC,” explains Charles Cameron. “There is so much great work being done across the whole WEC membership. We should learn from each other’s “gold medal service” solutions so that we can continue to lead in the world of work whilst being commercially sustainable and deliver on our employment agendas.”
During the General Assembly, regional representatives provided updates from their respective areas. The Southern Asia Pacific region continues to grow its presence by supporting the development of industry associations in several new countries. In North East Asia, great focus has been put on capacity building and exchange of best practices, for instance on the impacts of ageing population on labour markets. Latin America has worked on internal restructuring and is now turning to advocacy work at local and regional level. In North America, the legislative agenda has been heavy and upcoming political changes in Mexico will require to build new relationships with authorities. Finally, in Europe, all indicators are pointing in the right direction for the labour markets.
At the internal day, WEC members also participated in a workshop to further elaborate on the Social Innovation Manifesto that the sector adopted in November 2017. Members exchanged experiences and best practices on the different components of social innovation (social protection schemes, education and training systems, labour markets regulations, etc.).
Denis Pennel, WEC Managing Director, concludes: “In 2019, several international organizations will come up with initiatives related to the future of work (new ILO declaration for its 100th anniversary, OECD Jobs Strategy). The WEC will thus have many opportunities to promote its vision of social innovation and to cooperate with decision-makers to build labour markets that will fit the 21st century world of work. The discussion only starts…”