13 September 2017

Estonian Presidency focus on future of work

Today and tomorrow a high-level conference on Future of Work: Making It e-Easy -attended by Ceemet- is being held in Tallinn. Together with the Tallinn Digital Summit -bringing together the EU heads of state or government- on September 29th, these conferences are part of the Estonian Presidency focusing on ‘Digital Europe and free flow of data‘.

During her opening remarks Estonia’s President Kersti Kaljulaid laid down the context by stating that for centuries the nature of work has been changing. The difference now is that work is moving to something unknown. President Kaljulaid says as well that well-functioning social models and services help us to deal with these changes.

Ceemet defends in its Digitalisation and the World of Work report the position that robotization is not a negative thing. That although some jobs will get lost, new jobs will be created. President Kaljulaid seems to share this position as by stating on the issue that “Taxing robots is as absurd as taxing tractors would have been absurd during the agricultural revolution“.

The Estonian Minister for Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski asked “how the education system should prepare students for the future of work, considering that an estimated 65% of today’s pupils will be working in positions that do not exist yet?

Ceemet’s answer is i.a. teamwork but also lifelong learning. A topic that is elaborated in the chapter ‘Skills, skills, skills and more skills’ of the Vision Paper.

An agile labour market requiring new skills, needs new forms of employment too. A dynamic and mobile workforce is crucial to ensure to adapt to work organisation. In this context it is interesting to note that it is not only business demanding flexibility. Also workers request a greater choice in their work-life balance.

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