Unemployment remains high globally, while current working conditions barely allow hundreds of millions of people to survive. At the same time, over 600 million new jobs need to be created by 2030, just to keep pace with the growth of the working-age population.
n this respect, ensuring decent work for future generations is a critical pillar of the world’s pathway to sustainable development. What role does resilience have to play in this?
The next decade is expected to bring significant transformations in the current workplace, driven by technological development and automation, climate challenges, and demographic reforms. A relevant example is the quick integration of remote working as a result of COVID-19.
Two years later, the business landscape has transformed in a way that nobody could imagine. The crisis that the pandemic sparked overnight demanded companies to adapt quickly to a new normal. The ones who survived were the ones with forward-thinking, the proactive ones, the resilient ones.
ILO R205: The first standard for resilience at work
In a bid to address the near-future work challenges, the ILO approved the Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation (No. 205), as a landmark standard for addressing world-of-work topics in response to crisis situations.
Approved in 2017, the ILO Recommendation 205 (R205) is the only international normative framework providing guidance to organizations for the purposes of prevention, recovery, peace, and resilience with respect to crisis situations arising from conflicts and disasters.
The R205 updates the guidance of an earlier ILO Recommendation adopted in 1944 and pays special attention to vulnerable population groups, such as children, young people, women, and displaced people.
The concept of corporate resilience explained
Broadly explained, resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from a negative experience with “competent functioning”; in other words, to become strong again after a failure. What is important to know is that being resilient does not mean evading difficulty or distress but being able and prepared to manage it.
A resilient corporation is able to anticipate disruptions, adapt to events, and create lasting value despite difficulties or unexpected situations. Shipping has a really relevant example to share from its recent past: The crew change crisis as a result from COVID-19 left thousands of seafarers trapped onboard beyond contract limits, having their basic human rights challenged, in a situation that created concerns for the future of shipping as an attractive career pathway. The crisis resulted not only from unprepared shipping organizations, but also from an unprepared sector, that included governments and regulators.
In this respect, ILO Recommendation 205 provides a broader approach to resilience, describing the term as “the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions through risk management”.
According to ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, decent work means stronger and more inclusive economic growth and, consequently, more resources for the creation of more decent jobs by:
- “putting money in the pockets” of individuals and families that they can spend in the local economy
- supporting the growth of smaller businesses
- increasing tax revenues for governments, who can then fund social measures to protect those who cannot find a job or are unable to work
- reducing inequality and increasing resilience
- establishing a sense of social justice which helps maintain social peace.
“Policies developed through social dialogue help people and communities cope with the impact of climate change, while facilitating the transition towards a more sustainable economy. And not least, the dignity, hope and sense of social justice derived from having a decent job helps build and maintain social peace,
…Mr. Ryder explained.
Resilience and decent work: Projects underway
-ILO Decent Work Agenda: The ILO R205 is in line with the ILO Decent Work Agenda, which, in its turn, forms part of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development. The latter is an action plan for the planet to achieve prosperity and seeks the collaborative partnership of governments, institutions, business, regulators, and all relevant stakeholders to address several of the world’s challenges, such as poverty, inequality, climate change and other pressing issues. The four pillars of the ILO Decent Work Agenda are:
- Promoting jobs and enterprise,
- Guaranteeing rights at work,
- Extending social protection, and
- Promoting social dialogue.
-ILO JPR Program: Guided by Recommendation No. 205, the Jobs for Peace and Resilience flagship program focuses on four key objectives:
- Providing direct and immediate job creation and income security through employment-intensive investments
- Generating decent and productive employment through entrepreneurship, enterprise and cooperative support
- Improving employability through skills development
- Bridging labor supply and demand through employment services.
–UN SDG 8: When there are not enough jobs, people do not have money to spend, so the demand for cheap things goes up. This leads businesses to cut back, employing fewer people, reducing pay, and stopping investments in safe working environments. Along with the ILO work, the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 aims to “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all”. Sustained and inclusive economic growth can drive progress, create decent jobs for all and improve living standards.