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Future of work

May 2017

As part of the ILO’s “Future of work centenary initiative” (to mark the ILO’s centenary in 2019), the ILO has initiated a discussion on the broad theme of the future of work. The ILO member states have been asked to undertake national tripartite dialogues on this subject and send the results to the ILO as input. The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (the Ministry) has approached the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) with a view to organising this jointly.

The SER has recently published various advisory reports that focus on the future of work and society. At the same time, a work agenda was also established that lists the main themes on which the SER intends to work. Further to these advisory reports and the work agenda and having regard to the ILO’s request, a working meeting was held on 2 February 2017 to discuss the future of work. The meeting, which was private, had been organised by the SER and the Ministry for representatives of employers, employees and the Dutch government. The purpose of the meeting was to jointly identify the main opportunities and challenges that will affect the labour market in future. At the meeting, the social partners acknowledged the importance of joining forces to consider the future of work and indicated their willingness to continue this exchange of ideas. The results of the working meeting have been used as input for this memorandum.

The present memorandum has been jointly produced by representatives of employer and employee organisations, the Ministry and Crown-appointed members of the SER. The memorandum is based on the recently published SER advisory reports on digitalisation, working and living in the future, lifelong learning, CSR, TTIP and a circular economy. The themes and challenges we have identified are relevant not only to the Netherlands but also, we expect, to the industrialised countries and will  also have an impact worldwide. We would therefore also like to see these issues being given a prominent place in the ILO’s debate on the future of work.

Future of Work in the Netherlands

This memorandum describes the challenges and opportunities of current and future trends for the Dutch labour market, based on the four “centenary conversations” initiated by the ILO, namely:

  • Work and Society: What role will work have in our society over the next century? 
  • Decent Jobs for All: How do we guarantee employment and employee protection over the next century? 
  • The Organization of Work and Production: How will production processes change and what effect will this have on employment and employee protection? 
  • The Governance of Work: How do we exercise governance over work, nationally and internationally?