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

(Sarah Sladen) #121

My name is Sarah Sladen and I direct the Youth Economic Opportunities Network (YEO Network) at Making Cents International in Washington, DC.

I appreciate the discussion so far - it’s particularly helpful to hear about some of specific strategies that Unilever and others here are deploying to address lifelong learning, reskilling, and employability. Nathan, thank you for sharing some of the great resources Pearson is developing!

As background, since 2007 the YEO Network has been a global platform for ~35k youth development experts and innovators to share knowledge and connect on critical technical and cross-cutting challenges that impact youth economic opportunity.

Two years ago, our team developed a new learning agenda for the YEO Network and our annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit ( focused on the changing nature of work for young people in developing contexts. We were motivated by a learning gap between “future of work” discussions dominated by robots, the decentralization of labor and the gig economy in wealthier regions, and what we know of young people in search of livelihoods in some of the poorest areas.

Through a series of roundtables and at the Summit, we engaged industry leaders to share their perspectives on how the changing world of work is impacting their business. We heard a few things from companies and I’m curious if you, or other discussants here, have encountered similar challenges / issues:

  1. Companies need to do more to signal to young people what the opportunities are within their business (and across their supply chains).

We heard this from companies working in tech, logistics and transportation, hospitality and tourism, and healthcare. Young people don’t always understand an industry (what opportunities are available from the ground up). In some cases, there is also an expectation gap between how youth perceive the job and what the job is in practice.

E.g., in response to this challenge, Johnson & Johnson has a work-based learning program that engages high-school students and exposes to the healthcare industry early to generate interest in these types of careers. Marriott and Hilton have also deployed programs to engage youth early and expose them to their industries. A few of you have remarked on the need to bring pieces of the system together (educators, trainers, employers) and we think these types of programs are a good step in that direction…

Is Unilever or others looking at youth engagement as a key piece of their skilling and talent acquisition strategy?

  1. More companies recognize the value of work-based learning (or apprenticeships) but challenges include buy-in and cost, time, finding and scaling mentorship programs inside companies, and training and equipping front-line managers with the tools and resources they need to work with Opportunity Youth (to help ensure retention and growth).

Are these familiar challenges and/or have you identified specific strategies to address hiring and training on the job that you can share? What would be the most useful resource or tool for your company when it comes to creating work-based learning programs, particularly for entry-level youth? Are there policy-level changes that would enable your business to do more on work-based learning?

  1. Greater interest in youth by business is positive (and crucial), particularly in a changing world of work. We are interested in hearing more from companies about whether you have or are considering specific youth-inclusive approaches that are embedded into the business strategy, and that define youth as an essential part of your sustainability and growth - as consumers, suppliers, and a dynamic and valuable labor force worthy of investment? (much in the same way that many companies now view gender-inclusion as a core part of their sustainability).

Thank you!

(Christian Gomez) #122

Thanks for including me in this interesting dialogue.

(Washaya Washaya) #123

Great practical contributions and much appreciated. Thanks for the invite!

(Daphne Halkias) #124

Hello-- I’m Daphne Halkias, a Professor of Management at International School of Management Paris. Many countries are experimenting with policy initiatives to link immigration policy with workforce training to devise an international strategy for creating and attracting needed workers. Germany and Japan, for example have initiatives to attract trainees in nursing and eldercare from Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and elsewhere. Australia has pilot programs to foster skill creation and skill mobility in the Pacific region – the Australia-Pacific Technical College and the Kiribati Australia Nursing Initiative. There are many others. All of these innovative programs face important technical challenges (such as mutual skill recognition), financial challenges (especially mechanisms to fairly share the cost of migrants’ training), and political challenges (such as opposition from destination-country labor groups). To address the global talent shortage, some organizations within geographic regions today are also coming together in an effort to develop sustainable talent hubs.

(Kitrhona Cerri) #125

Thanks all! It’s been a great event - looking forward to further discussions on the subject.

(Daphne Halkias) #126

Great input in this discussion-- looking forward to more exchanges.

(Sarah Sladen) #127

Hi Harsha,

Thank you again for your comments on behalf of Unilever! It would be great to engage you further as we shape the agenda for the 13th Annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit (GYEO), October 1 - 4, 2019 in Washington, DC.

The Summit convenes 550 youth development experts and innovators from 60+ countries. Leading companies including Hiton, Marriott, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Adecco, and McDonald’s engage the Summit and help to bring critical insights from the private sector on how we can advance youth social and economic inclusion in a changing world of work. I would be glad to share more with you if this is of interest.


Sarah Sladen

(Sarah Sladen) #128

Hi Kathryn,

Thank you again for your comments today! I’d love to follow up and learn more about the Nestle Needs Youth Initiative if you are able to connect. it would be great to explore how we can help disseminate information about your program to our Youth Economic Opportunities Network (YEO Network) and potentially at this year’s Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit (GYEO Summit), October 1 - 4, 2019 in Washington, DC.


Sarah Sladen

(Laura Jana) #129

I agree, and I’m interested to know if you have started looking further upstream in terms of taking a different approach to skill building. I ask because I (and increasingly more and more in the business and policy world ) have been focused on tracing the 21st-century skills all the way back to their early childhood developmental roots

(Laura Jana) #130

I agree entirely. I’m just also struck by (and my current efforts focus on) the fact that these are the very same, well defined and well researched skills that actually have their foundational development in Early childhood, long before most people are paying attention from a jobs or workforce/21st century skills standpoint. If you are interested, I have recent TED talk on the subject

(Charles Tsai) #131

So in anticipation of less employment, governments institute UBI to reduce supply of workers? Whether you call it a cause or effect, UBI would still be a response to prospect of unemployment or underemployment.

(Giles Sibbald) #132

@drlaura I watched your Ted talk and also the one called “Building Skills” from 2014. I absolutely love your ideas. I am huge proponent of the importance of one’s human and social capital. I love the idea of the “Me” skills and completely agree with you on how important these skills are. I strongly believe that in the world of work, adaptability is crucial. In my line of work (financial planning, social intrapreneurship), empathy, resilience, emotional intelligence etc are critical skills. Children are incredibly adaptable and visionary when they are young. Similarly with emotional intelligence - absolutely. Inquisitiveness. I don’t know the neurological technicalities, but these characteristics and traits are absolutely present and when they get to school, that ambition (“What do you want to be when you grow up?”) seems to get drummed out of them.
I’m absolutely convinced that human and social capital are the most important assets for future success and wellbeing and I fully agree that the earlier that these assets are invested in and nurtured the better we equip our children for the future

(Laura Jana) #133

Thanks for watching my TED talks, and really glad to know they resonated, as I was absolutely intrigued by yesterday’s discussion and how much of it actually relates to what’s happening/being shown to be highly relevant in discussions amongst pediatricians, neuroscientists, preschool and early educators, and education in general. In fact, in many of the talks I’ve been giving in the business community, I actually start by introducing what I’m going to talk about as “Upstream Innovation” (as well as innovation at the intersect - since it clearly crosses and is bringing together many seemingly unlikely professions). Looking forward to learning more about Business Fights Poverty, your (and other participants’) views, efforts and goals. Glad I found out about yesterdays “discussion.”!