Policy Forum on the Future of Work

‌The world of work is in flux as a result of digitisation, the development of the digital economy and broad technological change. These processes, coupled with globalisation, population ageing and changes in work organisation, will shape the world of work and raise challenges to public policy in unknown ways.

In response to the digital economy, the new and affordable capacities brought by automation and big-data, many new markets and jobs will be created as result of further advances in digitisation, but many existing jobs will also be destroyed or will have to be significantly re-tooled in the process. New ways of working will become more widespread, which may create greater flexibility for employers and individuals but at the risk of greater job insecurity. Changes in skill requirements and the organisation of work will create pressure on job quality, family-work balance, inequality and social inclusion. These changes raise profound issues for how to adapt labour market policy and institutions as well as social security systems so as to provide adequate protection for workers while exploiting the potential of the new ways of working to enhance opportunities for individuals and enterprises alike.

The Forum therefore addressed questions such as: What are some plausible scenarios concerning the impact (both positive and negative) of further advances in digitisation on the world of work? What opportunities and challenges will digitisation pose to labour market and skills policies to ensure workers are well prepared to face the changing world of work?

The Forum took place at the OECD Conference Centre, in Paris, on January 14, 2016 from 10h30 to 18h00. The Forum facilitated a lively and free-flowing debate. Over 300 participants contributed to the discussion through interactive interfaces and they had the opportunity to engage with each other and speakers in an informal setting. The discussions from the Forum will inform national public policies and feed into the OECD’s work programme and the review of the OECD Jobs Strategy.

This event was part of a series of OECD initiatives to deepen our understanding of the Future of Work. Other activities and studies are planned in the context of engagement in global value chains, demographic change and the impact of different future-of-work scenarios on inequality and inclusion, job quality, family-work balance and social protection systems. 


Stefano Scarpetta - OECD Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs -  addresses where the future of work is going. While dealing with persistent joblessness, policy makers must confront at least three medium and long-term structural forces that are shaping the world of work more than ever: demographic change, globalisation and technology, especially the digital revolution.

What future for work?


The Forum facilitated a lively and free-flowing debate with experts and social partners including German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Ms. Andrea Nahles, United States Secretary of Labor Mr. Thomas Perez,  Prof. Philippe Aghion, Mr. Marco de Rossi, Mr. John Evans, Mr. Phillip Jennings, Ms. Janina Kugel, Mr. Bernd Liepert, Prof. Lisa Lynch, Mr. Michael Nelson, Prof. Eli Noam, Mr. David Plouffe, Mr. Giuseppe Recchi,  Mr. William Spriggs, Mr. Jacques van den Broek, Mr. Augustin Verlinde and Mr. Brent Wilton.

Meet the speakers

More information

The OECD is engaged in understanding the interplay between employment, skills and digitisation, globalisation, demographic change to promote job quality and well-being.