G7 public engagement paper – Preparing for jobs of the future

As technologies and markets evolve, G7 governments will play an important role in preparing our citizens and industries for the jobs of the future. The Government of Canada and its G7 partners have a responsibility to ensure that the opportunities created by the economy of tomorrow are available to all their citizens and that the benefits of economic growth are shared broadly.

New technologies will change the nature of work – as they have done since the Industrial Revolution – and they hold the potential to deliver transformational advances in productivity. Today, the speed and scale of innovation drives ahead at a rapid rate. These significant shifts witnessed by the global economy over the last several decades are impacting the operation of industries, the demand for skills and knowledge, and the overall nature of work.

The resulting change presents both opportunities and challenges, with major implications for emerging and traditional sectors alike. We have the means to create new and sustainable sources of economic growth. These trends present an opportunity for Canada and its G7 partners to drive global innovation, attract increased investment, and grow successful companies. This will in turn help create good middle class jobs and ensure that the benefits of a strong economy are felt by all.

Now is the time to prepare our companies and our people so that they can take advantage of these new, exciting opportunities. By working together, G7 partners can help develop robust approaches that allow us to embrace the progress in front of us, while softening the sharp edges of change and supporting all our citizens.

The Impact of Technological Transformation on the Economy

In the past, new technologies – like steam power, electricity, or the Internet – have boosted competitiveness and living standards, transforming the way we live and work. Today, advances in technologies such as advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, synthetic biology, and clean technologies are doing the same. The difference between the past and present is the pace at which these new technologies are being developed, adopted, and introduced. This is true for the scope of change as well, with technological development currently transforming nearly every sector of the modern economy.

New technologies can enable us to build on our existing capacity for innovation and invest in our citizens. It is critical that businesses and governments collaborate to prepare for the changes that lie ahead. By working together we will better understand how these technologies can contribute to economic growth and create jobs that benefit the middle class. This will allow us to ensure that our companies and people are positioned to lead in an ever-changing global economy.

The Impact of Technological Transformation on Society and Employment

As they have always done, new technologies are changing the way people work and live, as well as the skills they need to succeed. To keep people in the workforce and encourage increased participation, we must create pathways for them to continuously learn and strengthen their skills. Lifelong learning will help ensure that citizens succeed in the workforce, now and into the future. To unlock the greatest economic benefit, this must include a strong focus on women and groups that are currently underrepresented in the labour market. In Canada, we take this responsibility seriously. Our Innovation and Skills Plan will help all Canadians acquire the skills they need to get good jobs in a changing economy. A holistic approach that prepares for the digital economy, prioritizes innovation and clean growth, and invests in communities built for change will deliver more prosperity to the greatest number of citizens.

How should G7 countries respond?

In 2018, Canada will work with G7 partners seeking new approaches to how governments can foster job creation and better prepare our citizens for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

To better understand the trends that are taking shape and how they will transform sectors, we have to take the long view. To capture the benefits and opportunities that flow from technological advancement, governments must work with businesses, academia, and other partners. If we collaborate, we can anticipate and prepare for future skill requirements, create jobs, and support our workers through better skills training and lifelong learning initiatives. The challenges presented by these rapid changes – and their impacts on employment and societies – are too complex for one government department or one country to address alone. The demands of an ever-changing global economy require G7 cooperation so that we can learn from each other and create prosperity for our citizens.

Questions

  1. How do you see technology shaping the global economy and society over the next decade? What role do companies play in helping workers adapt and prepare for new opportunities? How can government and industry work better together to address these issues?
  2. Change and disruption takes many forms and is hard to predict. How do governments advance reskilling and retraining efforts in the present day?
  3. In industries that are predicted to have the strongest job growth in the coming decades, how can the G7 develop, retain, and attract the talent required to be at the forefront?
  4. How can governments better support transitioning workers and improve safety nets in the new economy, while maintaining competitiveness?
  5. What can G7 countries do to encourage innovation for social good?
  6. People are our most valuable resource. To improve prosperity, what role can technological advancement play in increasing labour force participation among women and those who traditionally face barriers?
  7. We know that diversity of ideas leads to greater innovation. How do we attract and support diverse talent in both the public and private sectors?