The unprecedented convergence of the forces of globalization, urbanization, changing demographics, and climate change are already fundamentally changing the way we live and work. While the continuous advancement of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics have improved productivity and efficiency and increased convenience, they have raised concerns over the number of jobs being lost due to automation. The recent COVID-19 global pandemic and its consequences on how we work is likely to accelerate these forces. Meanwhile, the disruptive impact of the sharing economy, which is being felt deeply by those in transportation and accommodation, will continue to spread into other aspects of our lives and completely upend the traditional actors in these sectors and displace the jobs they provide. Further, the rapid developments in 3D printing, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things, and Block Chain are set to also disrupt the manner in which goods are manufactured and services are provided. These will also have a knock-on effect on the configuration of supply chains globally and how business is conducted across a wide spectrum of sectors and industries. The full magnitude of the impact on jobs, work, and workers is not yet fully understood.
Against this complex backdrop, there are very real concerns and anxiety among workers, organizations, and governments about the future of work and the very nature of work itself. This requires a deeper understanding of the different changes underway, and which of these should be embraced, which should be resisted, and how best to prepare for the future that is unique for each individual, community and economy.
Starting with the history and evolution of the principle of ‘work’, and touching on topics such as the Industrial Revolution and the labour movement to provide some historical context and grounding, this ambitious course will help participants better understand the magnitude and intensity of the current changes shaping the world of work and provide a peek into what is to come. While taking a global view on the issue, the course will also delve into specific examples that are rooted in local contexts. Real-life case studies will be shared that draw on a wide range of contexts, from the informal sector in South Asia to the resource-based economy that has long been the backbone of Atlantic Canada, and the gig economy that is now so prevalent in the service sector, globally. The course will provide opportunities for meaningful interactions with a selection of dynamic leaders and thinkers, and include the perspectives of policy, industry, labour, community, academia, research, and civil society. This will comprise identifying strategies for a just transition including future-proof skills development, retooling for the future and life-long learning, ideas around universal labour guarantee and social protection, as well as investments in green technologies.
Benefits and Learning Objectives
In this course, you will:
- Understand the historical context of work and how it has evolved with each industrial revolution, along with the challenges, opportunities and responses from various stakeholders.
- Build a clear synthesis of the impact of urbanization, changing demographics, climate change, and other factors on the landscape of work globally.
- Learn about the current trends and innovations in new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, advanced robotics, 3D printing, Block Chain, and the Internet of Things.
- Develop a clear conceptual framework of the implications of these technologies as well as other forces on current and future jobs.
- Learn about strategies and examples such as investments in building human capital, including skills development and life-long learning, labour market regulation, and social protection.
- Connect and network with like-minded individuals from various organizations around the world who are interested in the future of work and workers.
- Get advice and tips from leading experts in the field on how to develop the critical skills and pivoting capability to advance your own professional and personal development.