The world of work is changing, shaped by four global megatrends: globalisation, climate change, demographic changes, and technological advancements. Each megatrend brings its own unique challenges for young people and the future of work, as well as some opportunities. With the potential of these megatrends to shape the type of work that is required, the type of work that is available, and who undertakes it and how, there is a need to re ect on the role and value of work in society and in people’s lives. Changes to the nature of work itself must inevitably lead to discussion on the value and recognition of other contributions to society.
Young people are already at a disadvantage in the labour market. They often experience age-based discrimination in terms of their access to quality work, fair wages, or welfare systems. Transitions from education to employment have become increasingly dif cult and many of the young people who do nd work are caught up in a cycle of precariousness, without access to workers’ rights or social protection. The barriers that young people face in accessing their social and economic rights risk being exacerbated in the future of work as new challenges emerge. In this context, this report identi es and discusses ve key themes that present challenges and opportunities for young people in Europe in the context of the future of work: skills, access to social protection, workers’ rights and wellbeing, just transition and environmental concerns, and equality.
To respond to these challenges and create a youth-inclusive future of work, policy-makers must focus on the following solutions:
• . This includes digital skills, skills that give humans a comparative advantage over new technology, the skills of creativity and adaptability, and those related to sustainability and preparedness for the impacts of climate change. Investment in non-formal education and recognition of its place in the development of skills and competences for the future of work are required to ensure that all young people are reached.
• Reforming welfare systems and labour legislation to adapt to new realities and forms of work, and to ensure that further changes to the nature of work can be adjusted to and regulated more rapidly in future. The premise and practice of contributory welfare and pensions systems must be better adapted to employment trajectories and future changes in the type and availability of work to ensure that they remain adequate, fair, up-to-date and t-for-purpose. Adjustments and reforms must allow all young people to have access to a safety net, including those in new forms of work and those who are not in employment.
• Safeguarding workers’ rights and wellbeing by ensuring a good work-life balance, protecting the right to privacy, and preserving the space for collective bargaining. More affordable care services, increased exibility in work hours and the use of technology to allow distance working should be encouraged. This must be coupled with efforts to ensure that the right to work-life balance and the right to privacy are upheld in the context of increased use of tech- nology, generation of data, monitoring and surveillance. The pace of change in relation to these issues makes it imperative that collective bargaining and the right of all workers to join and form trade unions is also protected.
• Creating a youth-friendly labour market by increasing the capacity of Public Employment Services to provide better and more individualised support for young people; better regulating the types of work that young people do, including non-standard forms of work, internships and apprenticeships; provid- ing young people with free, youth-friendly and accessible information on different employment statuses and their impli- cations for access to social protection and pension schemes; and ensuring that young people and youth organisations are included in the shaping of policies and programmes designed to respond to their needs in the changing world of work.
• Investing in a new economy by moving away from the current economic model which has fuelled the economic, social, and environmental challenges that young people face today. This can be achieved through supportive poli- cies and provision of funding for young people to establish alternative business models that prioritise sustainability and the needs of people and communities above pro t. Greater efforts are needed to educate young people about these business models as viable alternatives that can contribute to both human and planetary wellbeing.
While control over the megatrends may be limited, it is possible to minimise their negative consequences and capitalise on the opportuni- ties they may bring. Ultimately, what the future of work will look like and how it impacts young people will depend on governments and institu- tions. Policy-makers must leverage their power to shape labour markets into arenas where all young people can fully realise their social and economic rights. To address the challenges of tomorrow, the development of a youth-inclusive labour market cannot wait. Action must begin today to create the future of work that young people in Europe want.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The Future of Work and Youth | European Youth Forum