Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Work

Covid-19 demonstrated that change is needed to address not only an unexpected virus, but also the long-term transformations that have occupied our minds and behaviour for years. Indeed, nothing particularly new was brought to the table during the pandemic, but the clarity with which the virus revealed some key problems in our society was striking. Ever-increasing social inequalities, digitalisation and the impact of technology on our daily lives, as well as climate change, pose significant challenges that, if not addressed, risk impacting future generations. The decisions and actions we take today will define tomorrow’s society.

Against the backdrop of these developments, Istituto Svizzero and the Embassy of Switzerland in Italy, in collaboration with University of Lausanne and LUISS University in Rome, invite discussion on current trends in the field of work, focusing on changes in labour markets, education and labour relations.

The conference is part of DISPUTE, an ongoing series of Istituto Svizzero which provides a platform for exchange on globalisation and the future of our societies. By introducing a new topic each year, the forum aims to strengthen civic participation and public debate.

This year’s edition questions the future of work. Significant advances in the development of new technologies, the global integration of markets and steadily increasing economic growth have led to a significant rise in living standards worldwide. Similarly, the shift towards adequate labour protection since industrialisation has contributed to more balanced labour relations and better working conditions. However, despite these achievements, there is still much work to be done. Globalisation contributes to an unhinged polarisation of labour markets; the automation of some tasks puts jobs at risk, while creating new opportunities in other areas. Moreover, gender biases continue to influence economic structures, thus perpetuating an imbalance in professional opportunities and recognition.

Major transformations are on the horizon. What concepts and strategies will lead to a future that works for everyone? What actions do we need to take to make a difference? Together with politicians, academics, representatives of the state and trade union movements, citizens have the opportunity to take part in an informed discussion with experienced specialists who can provide a glimpse of a future of work that has yet to be written.
The conference will be accompanied by two commentators, whose role is to highlight important themes and topics in the summary sessions following each panel.


The conference will be held in English with simultaneous translation into Italian and it can be followed also online.

Register here to participate via Zoom.

The full programme can be found here.