Report: Transformation of work challenges the Nordic welfare model but its strengths may offer a solution

NordenBladet — Global megatrends such as digitalisation, ageing population and climate change pose long-term challenges to the Nordic welfare model. The extensive research project carried out by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the research institute FAFO delved into the future of work in the Nordic countries. The final report of the project was published on 7 May 2021. The employment ministers from the Nordic countries will discuss the report’s themes at their informal video meeting on 2 June 2021.In the Future of Work project, researchers examined the future of work from the perspective of digitalisation, platform economy, working conditions and employment legislation. They considered the effects of the megatrends and the coronavirus crisis on the Nordic welfare model and how the current practices could be updated to better suit to the working life of the future. The key issue is how to maintain in a changing labour market the Nordic welfare model and a high employment rate, which is essential for the future of the welfare model.According to researchers, the Nordic welfare model can, despite the challenges facing it, be a solution to the emerging problems. Digital technology is already widely utilised in the Nordic countries, and digitalisation has not led to inequalities in society or the labour market. Researchers recommend that the Nordic countries continue to invest in education, development of skills and fair working conditions.The research project launched in late 2017 was carried out by a group of more than 30 researchers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden.Nordic employment ministers to discuss the future of workThe employment ministers from the Nordic countries will discuss the findings of the Future of Work project at an informal video conference on 2 June 2021. The meeting will be organised by Finland, which chairs the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021. In addition to ministers, representatives of the social partners will be invited to the meeting.Issues related to working life will also be discussed at three conferences in autumn organised by Finland during its Presidency. They will address the Nordic wage formation system, the future of work from the perspective of climate change, and the promotion of inclusive labour markets. The formal meeting of the Nordic employment ministers is scheduled to take place in November 2021.


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