Printer-friendly version

More and better jobs in the great global transformation

Modalità digitale, 20/04/2020, Digital roundtable

The future of work was the main theme of the digital panel discussion set up with the collaboration of the national council of the association of job consultants, where a paper entitled “More and better jobs in the great global transformation” was presented.

The discussion focused on the difficulties reviving productive activities such as services in the presence of a pandemic. Much will depend on the effectiveness of the measures adopted to ensure the survival of businesses and labor relations during the lockdown and as the recovery begins.

It was accurately observed that a priority in earmarking public resources should be to shift the burden of debt from businesses to the government through grants aimed at subsidizing losses stemming from productive paralysis, even by compensating taxes due.

Only activities capable of resuming operations will be able to ensure continuity to work relations and the production of wealth. Access itself to government insured bank credit will be useful as long as it does not absorb the capacity for ulterior loans.  

The distribution of unemployment compensation needs to be simplified and accelerated since its causes are obvious and in no need of deliberation. Concern was expressed over the persistence of bureaucratic paralysis owing to rules founded on prejudice against companies and the recurrent defensive behavior of government agencies.

Obviously, work must resume under conditions secured against contagion and according to protocols already tested by those “essential” services that have remained active, differentiating obligations in relation to size and type of activity. According to the report presented, health and work are among people’s primary needs, and require the availability of adequate testing for early diagnosis.

The reassessment and generalization (even by means of joint solutions) of the functions of authorized physicians could ensure a holistic type of preventive health surveillance. Where employers adopt and implement appropriate safety protocols, they should be exempt from any criminal, civil or administrative liability for events beyond their control, thereby offering an incentive for use of best practices.

The real resumption of work will depend also on exemption from social security contributions for a congruent period.

The resources of bilateral funds and the European Social Fund, disbursed more speedily than normal procedures usually allow, can also be used to create widespread ad hoc digital literacy and training programs correlated to the use of new technologies.

Over all, the constraints and behaviors imposed by the pandemic will eventually stimulate the development of the digital economy and new productive models as a consequence of a cognitive revolution. Remuneration of smart work, which is often very simply accomplished, could be based on the assignment of goals and measurement of results. It was observed that all this would encourage a joint bargaining process at individual, corporate and national levels.

Work rules – recently stiffened according to 20th century models despite the transformations triggered by technological innovation – will have to be simplified so as to foster the propensity to hire employees or recruit collaborators. If, in the vital phase of reconstruction, institutions support the desire to grow with deregulation, the social parties will be able to encourage recovery with flexible rules that ensure growth and dignified work through concrete protections aimed at preserving health, continued learning, upward mobility and fair pay linked with productivity and professionality.

Finally, the debate brought out the need for educational and training systems to seize the opportunity of the emergency rules, which are going to be with us for some time, to begin to change anachronistic organizations that were not prepared for the digital age. Pedagogic methods and content must integrate classroom lessons with practical experience, with the aim of developing skills that best utilize each individual’s aptitudes, replacing the legal value of educational degrees with the certification of a complete personal training portfolio.

Within a unified national framework, schools, universities, training institutes, businesses, employment consultants, bilateral bodies, employment centers and agencies will be able to generate learning paths calibrated to employers’ needs and workers’ abilities. On these transitional job markets, professional evolution will no longer be the consequence of special intervention but of continuing opportunities accessible to everyone.