Job Market in 2050


Panorama over the Assembly Hall where delegates bear witness to the 104th International Labour Conference opening session 2015-06-01.
Credits: ILO Photo - Pouteau / Crozet

Our world is changing faster than ever and if you ask any teacher, they will tell you that one of the greatest challenges they face is to educate a generation of children today for a set of jobs that will arise tomorrow. Yes there will be some professions that stand the test of time -- although they too will undergo serious transformations as they adapt to modern challenges. There will be teachers, doctors, electricians, engineers, architects and historians -- to name a few occupations that seemingly persist through the ages. But there are so many jobs out there that we probably cannot even imagine today.

25 Years ago, we didn't have social media managers, big data architects, App developers, bloggers, video journalists, infographic- or 'user-experience' designers. All of these jobs have sprung up in recent years and the speed with which jobs require an unprecedented set of skills keeps growing. What will the job market look like in 2050?

The future of work in the spotlight at the annual International Labour Conference (ILC) which takes place in Geneva this week. The ILC is honing in on mega trends and long-term drivers of how work is going to be pursued in the years to come. Will it be in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which already account for more than half of the job creation globally? Or will people be more and more self-employed? And what about the progressing automation? Experts from all over the world are searching for new policies, innovative solutions and practical responses that promote honest and productive work.

This event convenes over 5.000 delegates from the ILO's tri-partite constituency - governments, employers and workers representatives, as well as observers from international organizations and NGOs, from 185 countries to focus on the issues in the world of work that affects us all. Although, this year the focus on the future is high on the agenda, the conference covers a broad range of work-related challenges including unemployment - that affects around 200 million people in the world today - and youth unemployment. The latter in particular continues to be a hot topic as young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and that almost 73 million young people worldwide are looking for work. At the same time, the ILC sets and monitors international labour standards, and this year it will see the launch of a campaign to end modern slavery and an event marking World Day Against Child Labour (12 June), highlighting a child's right to education.

All of this takes place in International Geneva, where a number of international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other members of the UN family, join the International Labour Organization (ILO) in its efforts to promote decent work for everyone.

It's clear that the job market in 2050 will be very different than the one we see today. I expect that the on-going outcomes of this annual meeting in conjunction with the work of the entire UN family help shape the future of work into a promising and prosperous one for all.