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9 leaders reveal how to make decent work a reality for everyone

  • Ahead of the World Day for Decent Work (#WDDW), we asked leaders in global organizations for their take on what is needed to make good work a reality for everyone.
  • Key themes that emerged are: dignity of labour; living wages; universal social protection; applying standards for contractors, sub-contractors and supply chain; finding solutions for the platform economy; driving reskilling and upskilling; rethinking how we work; and ensuring worker empowerment.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating automation are intensifying the need for the promotion of “good work”. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), highlighting renewed pressure on governments to put decent work at the centre of actions to bring back economic growth and build a new global economy that puts people first.

The rise of remote work has created more flexibility for many people. Some 83% of companies say that they will offer more opportunities to work remotely because of COVID-19. But work-life boundaries have blurred and there has been growing concern about the impact of new ways of working on physical and mental health.

Automation requires greater efforts on reskilling and upskilling—on average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less. The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women and minorities demands new efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Meanwhile, non-standard forms of employment continue to expand, notably in the platform economy, and raise concerns about predictability and security.

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As organizations transition from the COVID-19 crisis into the post-pandemic future of work, there is the potential for considerations around well-being, purpose and new ways of working to come together to create a “new deal” for workers.

A number of leading multinational companies are paving the way through bold commitments in specific areas. These include offering hybrid work arrangements with increased flexibility, large-scale reskilling and upskilling programmes for all employees, comprehensive support for workplace mental health, pushing for their supplies to pay living wages, setting strong targets for gender balance and providing generous parental leave.

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