The Future of Work

The Future of Work

  1. Introduction and Outline

The world of work is changing rapidly throughout the world. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has highlighted technological innovations, demographic shifts, climate change and globalization as major drivers of change on the future of work. Since then, events have overtaken plans to further develop these themes.

It is proposed that four, two to two and a half hour webinars are arranged.  Each workshop will seek to identify the key future impacts of the identified drivers and themes on the future of work, and how these impacts can be either mitigated or taken advantage of by workers, companies and government. Simply put, the purpose of the Webinar Series to for social partners to gain an improve understanding of the future of work, its potential negative and positive impacts and to identify possible interventions to mitigate the negative impacts and take advantage of the positive impacts.

Key questions and consideration be explored in respect of each theme or driver

  • Just transition
  • Identification impact of “decreasing roles” and “increasing roles” in each industry/sector on inequality in the workplace in relation to gender, class, race, ethnicity, disability, age, and other categories
  • Aligning education to be relevant and responsive to the future of work demands.
  • Upskilling and reskilling of worker to meet the skills demands. 
  • Rights at work and employment/income security for all in new world of work.
  • Social protection for all in new world of work
  • Measures to reduce carbon footprint while promoting job creation and job retention
  • Remote working and platform workers
  • How to realize rights at work for all leaving no-one behind, in new world of work
  • Role of unions and representation of workers
  • Industries experiencing conflicts due to emergence of new forms of work
  • What kind of further regulation/adjustment would then be needed to deal with the consequences of the disruption of the old system.
  • Proposed Participants

It is envisaged that 50 – 80 participants can be expected in each webinar in the series, with a mix of backgrounds and representation.

  • Within Nedlac: Social partner representatives; Decent Work Steering Committee
  • Outside of Nedlac: Presidential Working Group on 4IR; Project Management Office for Presidential Youth Employment Initiative; Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET); Department of Basic Education; Department of Environmental Affairs; UN Agencies (ILO, UNDP, UNIDO, UNEP, IOM); National Planning Commission; Academic and Research institutions; MISTRA etc
  • Technology

Zoom and Microsoft teams are capable of running these meetings. The technical dynamics would allow to move between panellists to participants, and there is no reason to worry about the number of participants.

However, it is important to note that stringent controls are needed, which can be designed.

  • Outline of Webinars

Session 1: 6 November 2020- 09h00–12h00:  Opening Plenary and Setting the Scene

Key Outcomes: Setting the tone and broad overview of future of work concept and key drivers that impact on the future of work.


Ms Castel-Branco: Research Manager for the Future of Work(ers) project at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa to provide overview on demographic changes, technology and innovation.

Jens Dyring: ILO representative to provide broad overview on climate change, just transition and globalisation.

Session 2: 16 November 2020 13h30-16h00: 4th Industrial Revolution and Innovation

Key outcomes: building a common understanding of 4IR and effective strategies to embrace these technological changes. (discussions to be aligned to overarching thematic areas)


  • Prof. Rasigan Maharajh: Founding Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation at Tshwane University of Technology: present on impact of technology and innovation in the future of work. clarify understanding of 4IR and outline strategies to embrace technological changes and measures to mitigate against its adverse effects
  • Kgauhelo Moeca: Senior Manager, Smart Industries, Innovation Hub which is funding innovation in South Africa: present on technological innovation trends globally and in South Africa and how they can either disrupt or provide opportunities for businesses and workers in the world of work.
  • Mamphoku Khuluvhe: System Monitoring & LM Intelligence, DHET: present on occupations in high demand and those in low demand due to the future of work, growing sectors, declined sectors, sectors where growth is expected and sectors that are important for 4IR.

Session 3: 18November 2020 09h00-11h30: Climate Change

Key outcomes: Understand impact of climate change in South Africa, South Africa’s strategy on climate change, key sectors to be affected and discussing how a just transition can be achieved.  (discussions to be aligned to overarching thematic areas)


  • Tasneem Essop is with Climate Action Network International and will speak on the imperative of responding to climate change as well as government’s approach to the 2050 Vision pathway towards a just transition in South Africa.
  • Steven Nichols is from the National Business Initiative and will focus on current initiatives undertaken by business to drive a just transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy. He will also share best practices derived from the different initiatives undertaken by business towards low carbon development pathway.
  • Jongikhaya WitI is with the Department of Environmental Affairs and will share progress on work government is doing in terms of climate adjustment measures. His presentation will focus on the National Employment Vulnerability study undertaken by the department.
  • Hameda Deedat is with NALEDI and will share some of the labour sector’s thinking and measures to leverage opportunities presented by adapting to new energy in terms of sustaining current work and creating new jobs

Session 4: 24 November 2020 09h00-11h30: Demographic Changes

Key Outcomes: understanding demographic change in South Africa and identifying opportunities and challenges in respect of these changes including in respect of social justice (discussions to be aligned to overarching thematic areas)


  • Risenga Maluleke (nominee), Statistician General of South Africa: He will outline changes in demographics, including migration trends and the youth bulge. He will also share international comparatives.
  • Sam Morotoba: Department of Labour and Employment to speak about the new document
  • Prof Jo Veary: Wits Africa Centre for Migration and Society to speak on issues driving human mobility and migration in the region. Within country migration. Cross border migration.
  • Labour Resource Centre (Nominee): – low participation of women in the labour market, Closing the gender pay gap, Unpaid care and homework carried out by women, in many cases due to unequal social norms. Literacy and skills development for women.
  • IMO

Session 5: 26 November 2020 09h00-11h30: Globalisation and Covid-19

Key outcomes: Changes and effects of globalisation on decent work and understanding the effect of Covid-19 on globalisation including global value chains. (discussions to be aligned to overarching thematic areas)


  • Marlese von Broembsen: Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) to share perspectives shared on home-based work (own account workers linked to global supply chains and international digital platforms). Insights from global debates and homeworkers in global supply chains
  • International Labour Organisation specialist on labour migration (Not on migration – but Specialist who has done work on global supply chains an)

Session 6: 02 December 2020 09h00-12h00: Closing Plenary

Key Outcomes: Reflections and consideration of policy proposals for further consideration by NEDLAC structures.

  • Presentation of the report highlighting key issues and implementable recommendations arising from different webinar sessions.
  • Social partner discussion on the report and recommendations
  • Identifying key elements and policy proposals for engagement in the NEDLAC chambers
  • Mapping the way forward
  • Envisaged Outcomes

It is envisaged that a final report containing key issues and implementable recommendations be produced.