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

(Katie Hyson) #41

Thank you for your thoughts all. Second question.

Q2: What are the businesses who are leading in this space doing on the topic of the Future of Work?

(Christian Gomez) #42

Thanks for mentioning that, Nathan. We’ve invested more than $4 billion over the past four years in higher wages, training and education. The result so far: we’ve seen our U.S. store associate turnover reduced year-over-year.

(Euan Wilmshurst) #43


At IBM we think it is about a partnership approach to systemic change. Industry, Government and education institutions need to work together to provide the pathways to new collar work. Engaging with real life jobs and mapping skills back to curriculum, focusing on soft and hard skills together. It is a long term commitment to developing a sustainable talent pool.

(Jonathan Winter) #44

What will help create the framework for that to happen, I wonder? Regulation? Aspiration? Risk avoidance? Reputation building? Or economic (longer-term) advantage?

(nathan martin) #45

Walmart has done some brilliant work investing in reskilling, retraining and supporting its local workforce. We both work with Jobs for the Future and, the exact link escapes me, but there’s some great research and case studies around that.

(Christian Gomez) #46

Thanks Nathan. I think that our commitment to training and the skill building of our people is good for the associate, good for Walmart and good for the broader workforce. Importantly, we know for our training program to be successful, we need to collaborate across the workforce eco-system, with private, public and nonprofit organizations.

(Kathryn Rowan) #47

Right on Euan - I think that companies can paly a leading role in opening up opportunities such as apprenticeship and internship programs for young people, but also in reskilling the existing workforce.
Here in Switzerland dual education is embedded in society and companies play a central role in training young people on teh job while they are still in school. It’s a great model that works well. Switzerland has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates -globally - at 8%.

(Giles Sibbald) #48

We see employees highly engaged with social impact initiatives…whether that be through their own self-starting initiatives, engagement in volunteering, pilot projects, equality advancement, or services that are offered to our clients…these things matter to many employees. I think employers will need to pay close attention to their employee value proposition – what attracted the employees to them in the first place and is that still relevant.

(Kitrhona Cerri) #49

We’ve also done some work to distill the drivers that are moving companies to think about the Future of Work… ranging from rapidly evolving technology, to socio-economic polarization, and rising expectations of the workforce. See here: (and here for the more details, facts & figures:

(Charles Tsai) #50

What’s the next milestone for Pearson’s research into future skills? Also, what does your list of top skills mean to you?

(Euan Wilmshurst) #51

Totally agree. There is piece that is about the high school students of today, and then there is the reality of those in mid career who need re-skilling while they work. Something the government here in Singapore has started to focus on with its SkillsFuture initiative.

(Maria Lorente Perez) #52

Thank you all for so many interesting perspectives and insights. I have seen mentioned widely the word systemic … yet, we do struggle to approach almost anything systemically and acquiring that capacity is not embedded in many school / university curricula. How can businesses support the development of this crucial capacity for individuals currently working within? … and what are the wider conversations that need to be held (and who should be at the table) to be able to develop this capacity from a very early age?


(Harsha Jalihal) #53

Here at Unilever, we are doing a few interesting things:
(1) We are focusing on building a culture of lifelong learning within the organization. While it’s important to build target reskilling programs, we have realize the only way to create sustainable change, the mindset has to shift. So we are investing in the technology needed to making learning accessible to everyone and democratizing it by removing “entry criteria”. We have even re-defined leadership at Unilever to focus as much on our “inner game” as we do on our outer game, to drive the importance of the right mindset and the willingness to learn, relearn and unlearn as a hallmark of a good leader.
(2) We are injecting purpose into talent management because we believe that purpose unlocks capacity and capability. When you have purpose in what you do, you are more likely to go the extra mile and you are more likely to learn something new. People with purpose thrive just as brands with purpose outperform. More than 30,000 employees have gone through our purpose workshops.
(3) We are working to reimagine the employee lifecycle by thinking through new and flexible employment models that allow us to reskill and redeploy our workforce in different ways. We want to generate employability in our ecosystem that goes beyond our inner core of employees that are on the payroll. This allows both our business leaders to tap into the wider talent ecosystem to access the right skills while ensuring that our own employees have the ability to work more flexibly even through job disruption, without worrying about income and stability.

(Giles Sibbald) #54

Good question. I’d say a combination of those. Clearly businesses need to see the economic benefit, the business case if you will. Wrapped up in this is brand management, risk management etc. The higher level picture is that if the social chasm is allowed to widen, the economic outlook is pretty gloomy. So it’s in companies’ best long term interests so build in equality as a business force.

(Kitrhona Cerri) #55

Totally agree Giles! Have you done anything in UBS to actively encourage this engagement, or do you find it self-driven by employees?

(Charles Tsai) #56

What systemic change in education are you supporting in Asia specifically?

(Harsha Jalihal) #57

It requires public-private partnerships with government, academia and businesses coming together to define what is needed and how do we make it happen. It will require investment from all three sets of stakeholders. The World Economic Forum is focusing on this in a big way and offering a platform where such stakeholders can come together and commit to the change.

(Euan Wilmshurst) #58

Here are my CEO’s views

(James Raynor) #59

I’m not sure I agree with your statement ‘what it really means is that many, if not most, people are not able to earn sufficient or steady income through work alone.’ I think there’s a question of causation to be answered here. UBI isn’t a response to increased unemployment, it may well be a cause. And if it is a cause studies have shown that it won’t result in insufficient or unsteady income. It would may limit job opportunities but we predicted this would happen with the 2nd and 3rd revolutions and it didn’t.

(Kathryn Rowan) #60

Indeed, something we think about all the time. The world is changing so rapidly and the 4th Industrial Revolution has closed some doors, but opened up so many others for people to engage in entrepreurial, set-starting initiatives. We don’t only compete with large companies but with the allure of starting up one’s own business.