UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai’s speech at the award ceremony of winners of the “Future of Work” essay contest dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of ILO

Dear Matin Karimli, deputy minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population,

Dear students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an enormous pleasure for me to participate and speak today at the awarding ceremony of the essay contest on “Future of Work”, which is dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the International Labour Organisation – ILO.

ILO is the oldest UN specialized agency, which played a central role in the struggle for social progress throughout its history.

An agency born of the bloodshed of the First World War, dedicated to building a better tomorrow, and inspired by a simple yet vital goal: to end “injustice, hardship and privation” in the workplaces of the world.

Today, the ILO can look back with pride at what it has achieved through a century of tireless work with employers, trade unions and governments.

Safer workplaces.

Fairer conditions.

Better pay.

However, the world of work today is undergoing a major process of change. Such process is synthetized in the report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work launched in January 2019.

The report highlights how “technological advances- artificial intelligence, automation and robotics – will create new jobs, but those who will lose their jobs in this transition may be the least equipped to seize the new opportunities”.

According to the report, “today’s skills will not match the jobs of tomorrow and newly acquired skills may quickly become obsolete.”

Possible shifts toward “greening of our economies will create millions of jobs as we adopt sustainable practices and clean technologies, but other jobs may disappear as countries scale back their carbon – and resource – intensive industries” and “changes in demographics will not be less significant.”

Expanding youth populations in some parts of the world and ageing populations in others may place pressure on labour markets and social security systems, yet in these shifts lie new possibilities to afford care and inclusive, active societies.

The reports conclude by inviting ILO Constituents to “seize the opportunities presented by these transformative changes to create a brighter future and deliver economic security, equal opportunity and social justice – and ultimately reinforce the fabric of our societies.”

Young people are particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in economic trends. And the figures I will voice now show that the youth employment remains as of the main global problems:

621 million young people aged 15-24 years old are not in education, employment or training.

75 million young people are trained but have no job.

In the next decade, one billion young people will enter the labour market, and large numbers of young people face a future of irregular and informal employment.

It is estimated that 23% of young people currently employed in the world earn less than $1.25US a day, which means that they live in an extreme poverty.

By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.

In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses, governments and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends—and to mitigate undesirable outcomes.

In order to prevent the increase of the youth unemployment we need to invest

in lifelong learning and make the education system more adaptable and attuned to the needs of the labour market.

We have to ensure effective economic and labour market policies to create jobs for young women and men.

Investing in entrepreneurship education would be a key to unlock youth’s creativity and innovation, linking to opportunities in wage and self-employment in the future.

I believe the essay competition has encouraged you to take a keen interest in the future of labour, reflect and write about existing challenges, and explore possible solutions.

We cannot succeed without your help and participation. We need you as partners and leaders. We need you as we build a peaceful and more sustainable world.

I congratulate both winners and participants of the contest and wish you every success in your life!

Thank you!



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