The ILO’s centenary in 2019 will arrive at a time when the world of work is at a crossroads. On the heels of the Great Recession that brought global unemployment levels to 200 million and led to widespread insecurity, labour markets across the world are undergoing deep transformations. These changes oblige us to rethink what work means and what it entails. They are also challenging societies to find ways to ensure that work delivers the jobs and incomes that people need.
Globalization has radically altered the way things get manufactured. Increasingly, manufacturing goods are created with inputs from all over the world, through a complex web of production that links workers and companies from different sectors and countries. In particular, the services sector has become an ever more important input provider to this production process, a phenomenon that some economists refer to as the “servicification of manufacturing”.
Few would deny the revolution that the digital economy has brought to our lives. People and companies are using the power of the internet, and the networks and leverage that it brings, to transform the way they shop, sell, socialize, seek medical advice – and work. The benefits of the new economy are multiple, but the impact on social security as we know it is significant, and will require innovative responses.