The Future of Work: How can business support an inclusive transition?

Join us for a live written discussion exploring how businesses can help not just their own internal talent and skills development during the fourth work revolution but also the wider communities they serve and in which they operate.

Live Panel
Thursday 31 January 2019, 3pm-4pm- GMT (10.00am-11am EST). ADD TO CALENDAR


66% of manufacturing jobs in the US have disappeared over the past 50 years, 5 million jobs since 1999, according to research from the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth - jobs which aren’t coming back and aren’t being replaced. Meanwhile, Oxford University experts estimate that 47% of all jobs globally are exposed to future automation.

The Future of Work raises huge issues for business in terms of talent, skills and recruitment. It also raises huge issues for society; given that the transition to the future of work could heavily exacerbate inequality, income disparities and social exclusion, some businesses have begun to think about how they address the wider impacts on the communities in which they operate.

Join this live written discussion on Thursday 31st January to engage with business experts from across sectors and explore why business is taking this seriously, what they are doing about it and how they are seeking new collaborations to tackle the scale of the challenge.


Christian Gomez, Director, Global Government Affairs (Latin America), Walmart
Harsha Jalihal, VP HR - Future of Work, Unilever & Seconded to the World Economic Forum
Kitrhona Cerri, Director, Social Impact, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Nathan Martin, Director of Global Thought Leadership, Pearson
Kathryn Rowan, Vice President, Human Resources, Zone Americas, Nestlé
Giles Sibbald, Executive Director, Head of Financial Planning & Wealth Planning Solutions, UBS
Charles Tsai, Sr. Manager, Social Innovation Partnerships, Fossil Foundation
Euan Wilmshurst, Corporate Citizenship Leader for Asia Pacific, IBM

Moderator: Katie Hyson, Director of Insights, Business Fights Poverty


  1. Why does the Future of Work go beyond a skills and talent as an issue businesses should be engaging with?

  2. What are the businesses who are leading in this space doing on the topic of the Future of Work?

  3. Why and how should businesses collaborate on this topic to address the challenge?

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Looking forward to learning more from the panel and broader BFP community! Grateful that you are catalyzing the much-needed discussion on how best we can equitably and adequately support society’s workforce transformation. Hopefully there will be pathways after the discussion for continued collaboration and exploration of the topic. Thanks! - Justin


It’s one thing to look at machines replacing humans at work, and the consequences for self respect and dignity as well as solidarity, but what about the future Work to be done in times of ecological crisis? What are we doing to reduce the risk of a “hard exit” by our economy from the planetary union?

Some call this Deep Adaptation and it affects employment and trade relationships in many ways: workers may become co-creators, businesses become safe houses where humans can reimagine society, supply chains become relief networks to deal with famine, drought, fire, flooding etc.

Looking forward to learn on the inclusive business …how the mode can be beneficial for the upcoming economic transition and bridging the gaps of SDGs?

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Active involvement of employers in the skilling of the next generation of workers is essential to provide jobs suited to the modern, inter-connected world. This is key not only for companies in need of workers, but critical for the competitiveness of economies and well-being of society.

Looking forward to tonight’s discussion.

Regarding the initial question )1. Why does the Future of Work go beyond a skills and talent as an issue businesses should be engaging with?, I am really curious about how do we also bring into the conversation considerations about what is work, what does it mean, what is it meant to be for … I believe that perhaps spending some time in the conversation raised one level up might open up many more possibilities for exploration.

Looking forward to the conversation!

Very interesting point raised by Maria. The definition of work is most certainly changing - the way people want to experience work and the workplace is different from what most of us “grew up” with. It is manifesting in many different ways

  • We talk less about job descriptions and more about skills.
  • We talk more about experiences and less about career paths.
  • It is also an age of longevity - so people are also living and therefore working longer. They need flexibility and options - the ability to work in different employment models. Employers are already thinking about this, but we need governments and academicians to also think about it to drive long term change.
  • There is also a greater “integration” of life and work, meaning that you can no longer separate personal from professional which makes it really important for employers to think about the individual as a whole - their wellbeing is as important as their productivity.

Hello and welcome everyone to the Business Fights Poverty Live Online Discussion - today we are exploring the Future of Work.

First can I ask each panellist to introduce yourselves:

Hi, I am Euan and I have over 20 year of experience of social impact across the public, private and voluntary sectors. I currently lead on IBM’s social impact strategy across Asia Pacific, covering India, Southeast Asia, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. At IBM we have a particular focus on systemic change in education systems and skills development, making sure there are clear pathways to “New Collar” job skills that will compliment new technologies like AI and Blockchain.

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Hi everyone! I’m Kitrhona Cerri, Director of Social Impact at WBCSD where I lead our projects on Human Rights, and on The Future of Work. WBCSD - The World Business Council for Sustainable Development - is a membership organization that brings together around 200 global companies from all sectors to solve the sustainability challenges that they cannot solve on their own - creating a global coalition of leading businesses working to accelerate the transition to a world where more sustainable business is more successful.

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Hi, my name is Giles Sibbald and I have been with UBS in London for 10 years, looking after its financial planning business. I am interested in social intrapreneurialism and how this can benefit the organisation as well as society

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Hello Everyone! I am Harsha Jalihal, Vice President Human Resources, Future of Work, at Unilever, which is one of the world’s largest consumer goods company and maker of iconic brands such as Dove, Ben & Jerry, Lipton and more. In this role, I am responsible for developing strategies that will define how Unilever prepares for the future of work and employment across its multinational business. I am also currently on secondment to the World Economic Forum. I am based in New York.

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And our first question today:

Q1: Why is your business engaging with the topic of The Future of Work? And the second part to this question - why does the Future of Work go beyond a skills and talent as an issue businesses should be engaging with?

Hi, I’m Nathan. I am the director of Global Thought Leadership at Pearson. I’ve worked in education in the the US and UK focused on improving learner outcomes. Involved with Pearson on the Nevertheless podcast series and the World Economic Forum, I also lead work on Matterfund, a nonprofit project around intelligence in education development. I also help on our Future Skills research and released a paper on “Demand-Driven Education” with Jobs for the Future


Hello, good morning/afternoon. My name is Christian Gomez and my portfolio at Walmart is global government affairs with a focus on Latin America. As the world’s largest private employer, we are approaching the Future of Work in many different ways and in different forums, and I look forward to the discussion.

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My name is Andy E. Williams. My background is in systems based approaches to change. In particular I specialize in collective intelligence and its use in maximizing social, economic, environmental, and other collective impact.

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It is about a systemic change to education systems. We need to focus on the capabilities that everyone needs rather than just academic credentials. In the new collar jobs of the present and future, we should be focussing on the underserved and under motivated within our communities that have traditionally never seen a route to the kind of jobs we are talking about. So it is not about graduate training schemes, but an early intervention at high school level to inspire and engage and get young people work ready for the longterm

Hello, Happy to be here with all of you. My name is Kathryn Rowan and I am Head of Human Resources, Zone Americas here at Nestlé S.A. based in Switzerland. I am also priveleged to lead our global NeedsYouth Initiative.

Most of us will have heard about the Fourth Industrial Revolution – the era that will be defined and driven by extreme automation and ubiquitous connectivity. This is going to change the way we live, the way we interact with each other and the way we work. Demographic shifts are also impacting how we work. We are living and working much longer, either through necessity or desire. Linear career paths are ceasing to exist and portfolio careers are taking over. For many employees, incentives are needed to make this shift to keep employees engaged. Many still feel tied to their current role because of the pressures of debt and employer benefit “stickiness”.