Side event for the 68th UN General Assembly

The Jobs Challenge: a panel discussion

A panel discussion about the changing nature of employment and securing decent work


Date: 23 September 2013
Time: 1:15pm to 2:45pm
Venue: One UN Hotel (Millenium Hotel), Manhattan Room, 44th St & 1st Ave
Location: New York, United States of America

Who knows how jobs will look like in over the next two decades? What will be the impact of technology advancement on the world of work? What type of skills will be required to match future labour markets needs? How can we deal with the aging labor force and how can we generate decent employment for the youth?  What new policy tools are needed to deal with these tectonic shifts in jobs and employment opportunities?  

These are key questions to be addressed in the sustainable development agenda.  A group of experts from leading international public and private-sector organizations will gather in New York on 23 September, during the 68th UN General Assembly, to debate these issues in a panel discussion entitled "The Jobs Challenge". 

This event  will also announce the launch of the final report of the global thematic consultations on growth and employment in the post-2015 agenda. The report is the result of a collaborative effort representing the contributions, views and recommendations of hundreds of experts, activists, policymakers and citizens committed to a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Matthew Bishop - U.S. Editor, The Economist

Guy Ryder - Director-General, ILO
Olav Kjørven - Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP
Wellington Chibebe -Deputy General Secretary, ITUC
David Arkless - Chairman, ArkLight Consulting
Betty Maina - CEO, Kenya Association of Manufacturers


Jobs are particularly critical in the context of fragile recovery from the jobs crisis and given the global challenge to create 470 million jobs between 2015 and 2030 just to keep up with the growth of the world’s working age population. It is also anticipated that this would require creation of different types of jobs, as many existing jobs will cease to exist. This transformation demands new ways of looking at policies for job creation. Young people may be provided with environment where they can create their own jobs.

Technology will change radically the way business is organized and its relationship with the workforce with important implications for required skills, contractual arrangements, wages, working conditions and occupational and safety and health and social protection.

Similarly, many of the new jobs existing today were unimaginable two decades ago. A vision and great effort will be needed to anticipate the skills for the future of employment and to start preparing the future generation of workers for the challenges ahead, including investment in education, technical and vocational training and lifelong learning, to enhance productivity and minimize skills mismatches.

Megatrends in population dynamics may also affect the future labour market. While some countries are facing the challenge of adapting the world of work to an increasingly aged working force, others have to cope with the youth bulge and need to enhance employment prospects for the youth. Rural – urban national migration and international migration will also pose additional challenges and opportunities.

For the decades ahead structural changes in the labour market might coexist with traditional problems, such as underemployment, working poor, forced and child labour and lack of respect for the fundamental rights at work. Future policies should be able to cope both with 21st century challenges and with 19th century unresolved problems.

As a follow-up to the ILO’s earlier meeting on the MDG’s and Decent Work, this high-level event brings together senior officials from government, business and the UN system to discuss how the world of work will look like in 2030 and shed light on possible ways to anticipate solutions for the future challenges. The results will seek to inform the deliberations on the sustainable development agenda.