Future of Work 2017
Productivity, jobs, human capital and a changing labour market
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’?
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:
- Online: Click here to complete the online registration form
- Phone: Call Dora Rencoret on +44 (0)20 7314 2785
- 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|
|Standard corporate members|
|NGOs and academics||£460|
|NGOs and academics||£510|
Your delegate pass includes:
- Conference attendance
- 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
Permanent State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (2010-2014)
Co-Founder and VP Product Management, LinkedIn
Senior Editor, Digital, The Economist
Senior Advisor, Gallup
Director, Work Foundation
Deputy Director-General for Policy, International Labour Organization
Director of Development Impact, CDC Group
Director, McKinsey Global Institute
Senior Director Global Public Policy and Economics, Uber
Sir Christopher Pissarides
School Professor of Economics and Political Science, LSE
Co-Author of The Future of the Professions
Chief Executive, RSA
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
If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact
Amy Smith on +44 (0)20 7957 5755
10 St James's Square
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.
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
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