“Shaping the Future of Work”

The World is evolving into an era where artificial intelligence is facilitating businesses to thrive produce goods and services in a more efficient and sustainable manner.  The proliferation of robotic technology has however been looked upon as a challenge and sometimes even as a threat by workers and their representatives.  The changes that are taking place around us due to the impact of digitalization and automation cannot be rolled back.  In fact the development of advance technology is picking up pace and is adding to the debate whether the human labour element could be reduced or be replaced altogether.

Research shows that about 40% of all US jobs are at the risk of being replaced by intelligent algorithms or production robots whilst some 70% of Thailand and India is also at risk for similar reasons.  The impact of digitalization and automation knows no boundaries and has affected both blue and white collar workers alike.  In this backdrop it is perceived that the world is moving away from traditional employment structures to more autonomous work situations that includes with more opportunities being created to be self-employed.

The challenges stakeholders have had to contend with are many.  Bureaucrats and policy makers have had to grapple with issues far from their comfort zones.  However, it is timely that we take a stock of such matters to better understand how this transitional phase should be navigated with minimum, if not a manageable impact both in terms of cost to labour and resources.

Diversity has become a feature in our work places and in the era of technological advancement opportunities have been created for certain isolated segments of society such as persons with disabilities to productively contribute to the workforce and national economies.  Diverse forms of employment which are expanding due to high demand specially by women have also created better work opportunities whilst ensuring value such as work life balance and social obligations.  In fact the changes that are taking place in the world of work have enabled women to participate in much greater numbers than ever before.

As we look at the broader issues in relation to shaping the future of work it will be foolhardy to think of achieving success if we did not take on board the aspirations of workers of different generations.  In countries where an aging population is emerging – Sri Lanka being one – the importance of ensuring that we reap demographic dividends cannot be much emphasized.

The Employer Symposium focused and discussed a gamut of issues that shaped the future of the work focusing on the following topics.

  • Impact of Digitalization and Automation – The experience of Employers
  • Challenges of Transition – The Policy Makers’ Perspective
  • Future of Work we want – An Employee perception
  • Managing Diversity – A discussion with those who matter

Symposium comprised of a broader discussion based on case study presentations and panel discussions by eminent experts representing business, policy makers, cooperate management as well as employees drawn from a wide array of sectors.

Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon made a presentation of the “Employers’ Network on Disability”. And was also one of the panelists at the panel on “Diversity and inclusion” at Hotel Galadari in November 2018.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 At the fellowship.

2 Manique in the audience.

3 Manique making a presentation.

4 Manique at the panel with the audience.

5 Manique speaking on stage.

6 Manique at the panel.

7 Mr. Prasad De Silva presenting the token of appreciation to Manique

Manique Gunaratne

Manager – Specialise Training and Disability Resource Centre of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon

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