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The world of work tomorrow the focus at Future of Work conference in Reykjavik

The Future of Work conference to be held in Iceland in April will take up pressing issues concerning the world of work in the future. The Future of Work is a joint conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Icelandic presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers will be hosting the conference, where a large number of international actors in the field will gather in the Harpa Concert and Conference Centre in Reykjavik on 4–5 April.


During the conference, gender equality and the roles of social actors in the labour market will be discussed in relation to the future of work. The focus will be on how a changing world of work is impacting the Nordic countries and their labour market models, as well as the measures needed to be able to achieve gender equality and sustainability in the world of work. The issue of equal pay regardless of sex will also be a key theme.

In 2016, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the ILO began cooperating on gender equality in the world of work in the future as part of the ILO’s Women at Work centenary initiative. It is one of the seven initiatives for social justice that the ILO and all its member states are to work with and specifically address in connection with the ILO’s centenary this year.

As a response to both Women at Work and Future of Work, both of which are ILO centenary initiatives, an extensive research project on what working life in the Nordic Countries might be like around 2030 was launched by the Nordic countries’ ministers for employment. It involves a large number of Nordic researchers under the leadership of the Norwegian social science research foundation Fafo. During the conference in Reykjavik, the findings from the research project Future of Work: Opportunities and Challenges for the Nordic Models will be presented and serve as the basis for discussions on policy measures, the role of ILO and other international organisations in the world of work in the future, and on how the Nordic model can respond to a changing world of work.

Three previous conferences on gender equality in working life have been held in the Nordic countries as part of the ILO centenary initiative by Finland, Norway and Sweden, at the time when each country held the rotating presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. These previous conferences focused on issues such as employment relationships, international standards and parental leave.