Future of Work 2017

Productivity, jobs, human capital and a changing labour market

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Chatham House, London

The political shocks of 2016 have laid bare growing popular discontent with the economics of globalization and the difficulties of accessing opportunity in a globalized marketplace. Public disaffection with the economic status quo is rising, driven by stagnating productivity in developed economies and a perceived disconnect between economic growth and wages. Increasingly strained international labour markets and localized skills mismatching, coupled with the fear of further unemployment brought about by technology- induced automation and offshoring, have increased mistrust of policy-makers and a rise in protectionist and isolationist policy sentiments; it is increasingly apparent that current approaches to productivity, employment and the world of work are in need of reassessment. Furthermore, the continued growth of digitization has increased opportunities for the independent worker, enabled by new real-time labour market platforms, bringing with it new socio-economic and regulatory challenges. 

This second annual Chatham House conference will examine the drivers transforming the world of work, and identify appropriate government and industry responses to increase productivity, exploring labour market dynamics, scrutinizing technology- led transformations and education policy, and mapping the rise of the independent worker.  Sessions will explore questions including:

  • What are the most substantial labour market strains across different economies? What are the most significant trends in employment, productivity and wages?
  • Which technological developments will continue to affect employment across different sectors? Which jobs are likely to be automated, and which are likely to be offshored?
  • How can governments and industry ensure skills provision to match worker supply to demand? What strategies are required to enhance human capital alongside productivity?
  • What frameworks are required to take advantage of real-time labour market platforms? How can regulators enable access and flexibility whilst providing security in the ‘gig -economy’?  

In partnership with:

McKinsey Global Institute to partner with Chatham House on the Future of Work 2017 conference

The Chatham House Rule 
To enable as open a debate as possible, this conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule.


Pricing and booking information 

Ways to book:

  1. Online: Click here to complete the online registration form
  2. Phone: Call Dora Rencoret on +44 (0)20 7314 2785
  3. Email / Post: Download a PDF registration form, complete and return to Clare Smyllie via email or post: Chatham House, 10 St. James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4LE


Partners and major corporate members 
All organizations£595
Standard corporate members 
Commercial organizations£1,180
Government departments£700
NGOs and academics£460
Commercial organizations£1,295
Government departments£750
NGOs and academics£510

Your delegate pass includes:

  • Conference attendance
  • Documentation
  • Lunch and refreshments

Travel and accommodation are not included. View a list of recommended hotels here.

Friday 23 June

Session One | Labour Market Dynamics and Productivity Challenges

This session will explore major labour market trends and the productivity challenges for existing economic models and identify appropriate policy and industry responses.

  • To what extent is there a crisis of productivity in developed economies? How effective have policy responses to low growth and low productivity been?
  • Are wages and productivity becoming disconnected? What is the status of average household income in the developed world and what are the political and social implications of this?
  • Who needs what and where in terms of labour? How are migration and other drivers affecting regional workforce availability, and how are migratory trends affecting access to talent?
  • Which socio-economic groups are witnessing the greatest unemployment, underemployment and inactivity?  To what extent do these three states represent distinct obstacles  across different economies?
  • Is there an increasing polarization between skilled and low-skilled jobs? If so, what are the implications of this, and to what extent is a ‘hollowing out’ of the workforce taking place?
  • What is the relationship between employment and well-being? What is the significance of current labour market trends in this context? 

Session Two | Skills Provision and Human Capital Investment

This session will examine regional labour demand, skills provision strategies and human capital investment to explore approaches for increasing productivity and employment opportunities.

  • What are the skills most likely to be in demand in the future, and how do these differ across different sectors and regions? Which economies are best equipped to meet the demand for skills?
  • How can current and forecasted localized workforce skills availability inform migration policy? How can the effects and opportunities of economic migration be more effectively communicated to help improve integration and productivity gains?
  • What do historical approaches to productivity and investment reveal about perceived returns from human capital versus alternative allocation of capital
  • How can investment in human capital and skills provision be incentivized given increasing worker flexibility, changing skills demand and labour market volatility? Can more long-term planning be encouraged in this space?
  • What have been the most successful strategies and technologies in skills provision? How does their effectiveness differ across different economies and sectors?
  • To what extent are flexibility and soft -skills becoming more valuable in the employment marketplace, alongside technical aptitudes and skills?
  • How can skills provision and productivity strategies and policies be communicated effectively to ensure their implementation?

Session Three | Technology and the Future World of Work

This session will focus on technological trends and their impact on the world of work, exploring the implications for different sectors and economies.

  • What are the most significant technological trends for the world of work? Where are the most disruptive and innovative breakthroughs occurring?
  • To what extent is there increasing automation in ‘knowledge- based -work’? What does this mean for different economies, and what will it mean for employment levels?
  • Which professions have the highest likelihood of automation, and how are roles likely to evolve? How will these effects differ across economies and regions?  What new jobs are being created?
  • Which workforces are likely to see the greatest change as a result of technology? What socio-economic groups do they fall into and where are they located?
  • What do historical trends reveal about the implications of technology developments? Is there anything to differentiate the current technology transition from those in the past?
  • To what extent is a ‘technological convergence’ under way, and how will this continue to reshape job roles? What does this mean for skills demand?  

Session Four | The Gig Economy and the Rise of the Independent Worker

This session will scrutinize the concept of the ‘gig economy’, identifying challenges for adapting regulatory frameworks to balance flexibility with security whilst enabling market access through new labour market platforms.

  • To what extent are developed economies witnessing the rise of the ‘independent worker’? What are the resulting policy and regulatory challenges?
  • What are the technologies behind the growth of independent working? How can new platforms increase productivity and talent matching, as well as enable labour market access for previously disadvantaged groups?
  • Which groups have benefited the most from the growth of the ‘gig economy’? What political and economic challenges have been created by the growth of real-time labour markets?
  • How will technology continue to facilitate offshoring? What will this mean for regional growth and employment? How will it impact workers in different sectors, and to what extent could this, coupled with economic stagnation, lead to protectionist restrictions?
  • How will these changes continue to fundamentally change management structures across different sectors? 

17:30 End of conference and reception hosted by Chatham House

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2017


Thorben Albrecht to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2016 conference

Thorben Albrecht

Permanent State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany

László Andor to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

László Andor

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (2010-2014)

Allen Blue to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2016 conference

Allen Blue

Co-Founder and VP Product Management, LinkedIn

Kenneth Cukier to speak at the Chatham House Cyber 2017 conference

Kenneth Cukier

Senior Editor, Digital, The Economist

Peter Flade to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2016 conference

Peter Flade

Senior Advisor, Gallup

Lesley Giles to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

Lesley Giles

Director, Work Foundation

Deborah Greenfield to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

Deborah Greenfield

Deputy Director-General for Policy, International Labour Organization

Alex MacGillivray to speak at the Future of Work 2017 conference

Alex MacGillivray

Director of Development Impact, CDC Group

James Manyika to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2016 conference

James Manyika

Director, McKinsey Global Institute

Betsy Masiello to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

Betsy Masiello

Senior Director Global Public Policy and Economics, Uber

Sir Christopher Pissarides to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

Sir Christopher Pissarides

School Professor of Economics and Political Science, LSE

Daniel Susskind to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

Daniel Susskind

Co-Author of The Future of the Professions

Matthew Taylor to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

Matthew Taylor

Chief Executive, RSA

Saadia Zahidi to speak at the Chatham House Future of Work 2017 conference

Saadia Zahidi

Head of Education, Gender and Work and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum


If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please contact
Ben Cumming on +44 (0) 20 7957 5729

Media partners

Gallup to partner with Chatham House on the Future of Work 2017 conference

London HR Connection to partner with Chatham House on the Future of Work 2017 conference

Oxford Strategic Consulting to partner with Chatham House on the Future of Work 2017 conference

The Work Foundation to partner with Chatham House on the Future of Work 2017 conference

WorkLife Hub to partner with Chatham House on the Future of Work 2017 conference

If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact
Amy Smith on +44 (0)20 7957 5755


Chatham House
10 St James's Square
[email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7314 2785
Fax: +44 (0)20 7957 5710

If you wish to book the venue for your own event please phone +44 (0)20 7314 2764

The nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus which is on the Piccadilly and the Bakerloo Underground lines. From Piccadilly follow Regent Street southwards towards Pall Mall and take the first road on the right called Jermyn Street. Duke of York Street is the second road on the left and leads to St James's Square. Chatham House is immediately on your right.


Although we cannot book accommodation for delegates, we have arranged a reduced rate at some nearby hotels, where you can book your own accommodation. Please inform the hotel that you will be attending a conference at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) to qualify for the Institute's reduced rate.

Please note all rates are subject to availability.

Flemings Mayfair
Half Moon Street
London - W1J 7BH

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817

Standard Single from £195 + VAT

The Cavendish London
81 Jermyn Street
London - SW1Y 6JF

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7930 2111
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7839 2125

Standard Single £205 + VAT

Book The Cavendish online

The Stafford London 
St James's Place
London - SW1A 1NJ

Tel: 020 7518 1125
Fax: 020 7493 7121

Standard Single £235 +VAT

The Savoy London
London - WC2R 0EU

Tel: 020 7836 4343
Fax: 020 7240 6040 

Standard Single £250 +VAT

Press registration

This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists.

Press can request a press pass.