The future of work is now. And it takes place in Asia. In hardly any other region of the world can digital progress and the associated economic, social and political disruptions be observed more clearly. The social questions and the contrasts on this continent of superlatives could not be more severe. Double-digit economic growth rates over decades have raised hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty into a steadily growing middle class. At the same time, precarious work, sustained inequalities, and uncertain perspectives remain the reality for many across the region.
We support policy analysis and research that shed light on the complex present and future of work in Asia, with a focus on three priority topics: 1) automation and digitalization, 2) trade and supply chains, and 3) development models for least-developed countries (LDCs). What paradigm shift does it take to confront and meet the challenge of jobless growth? How to attain socially just upskilling and reskilling of workers for Industry 4.0 in ageing societies? What are the consequences of geo-economic and systemic competition? How do global and regional supply chains change through the crisis? How will reshoring and nearshoring as well as the downward spiral for the cheapest production and lowest wage costs shape export-dependent transition countries?
To answer these questions, we bring together a wide range of different stakeholders from government, civil society, trade unions, business and academia in Asia, Germany and elsewhere in Europe to exchange experiences on the impacts of unceasing automation, increasing digitalization and changing supply chains.
Jointly with our FES offices in East, South and Southeast Asia, we put the spotlight on the development paths, strategic choices and policy options of our partner countries. Our goal is to improve the understanding of labour markets, employment transition pathways and best-practices to support socially just, inclusive, resilient, and green growth.
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