Montreal Global Shapers G7 Youth Consultation on the Jobs of the Future — Shape7 Project

Written by Miguel A. Rozo

On March 26, 2018, the Montreal Hub of Global Shapers hosted a Youth Consultation on the Future of Work that brought together over 30 individuals from various backgrounds in the Montreal area to exchange ideas, insights, and discuss what the future of work should resemble.

This consultation took place as part of the “Shape7” Initiative, an international collaboration between Global Shapers Hubs from across the G7 countries and the European Union (EU). The Global Shapers are a youth initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF) that spans across countries worldwide.

The Shape7 Initiative focuses on the theme “Jobs of the Future” — one of the pillars of the Canadian G7 presidency. The objective: to compile a comprehensive set of recommendations that youth in the G7 and EU can get behind and advocate their respective jurisdictions. 
While the format of the Montreal consultation was similar to the other consultations across the G7 and the EU, the makeup of attendees included diverse youth from the private, public, and non-profit sectors; various education levels; ethnic backgrounds; and employment conditions in Montreal.

Global Shapers and attendees at the G7 Youth Consultation. Montreal, Quebec — March 26, 2018

Why does this discussion matter?
Emerging technologies and the rise of the digital economy will, and is already having a transformative effect on employment patterns.
This calls for new approaches to skills development and partnerships across the public, private, and non-profits sectors, to enable individuals thrive in the jobs of the future.

The Global Shapers connection with this theme aligns closely with the WEF, which has played a leading role in engaging on global discussions on the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

As Global Shapers in the City of Montreal, we are seeking to harness our diversity to engage with peers across the G7 to advocate for bold leadership and cross-sector collaboration to ensure that no one is left behind in this inevitable transformation of work. This mandate particularly aligns with our vision to build Montreal as a smart and inclusive global artificial intelligence hub, especially by improving Montreal’s local innovation ecosystem using human-centered design.

Format of the consultation
Attendees were divided in four groups — 1) the concept of career, 2) the workplace of tomorrow, 3) education + skills development, and 4) fostering change in multi-stakeholder partnerships. These facilitated discussions featured engaging and thought-provoking conversations given the diverse makeup of attendees.

The major takeaways from the Montreal consultation echoed what many of the other consultations across the Shape7 Initiative have realized — that the time is ripe for fundamental change in the way we interpret work, education, social contracts, and cross-industry collaboration. The future of work must incorporate lifelong/practical learning and adaptability to stay viable. 
Our friends at the Ottawa Global Shapers have compiled the following 7 “Principals for Action” that can serve as next steps for the public, private, or non-profit sectors to re-imagine the future of work. In our view, these principles can be implemented in all G7 countries, regardless of the differences between our cultures and systems.

One of the breakout groups discussing the concept of future of work and partnerships.

Cross-consultation Principles for Action
1) Re-conceptualizing the relationship between employers and employees
Employment is a partnership between people and organizations, and career development requires each group to invest in the other for mutual longterm success.

2) Building skills earlier in life
Equitable and gender-sensitive access to experiential learning opportunities during core formative phases can help youth build the skills to think critically about their career paths before they enter the workforce.

3) Fostering a culture that rewards active and life-long learning
Regular training and re-training can equip workers with transferable and anticipatory skills to navigate diverse career opportunities and help build resilience in the workforce.

4) Empowering actors to plan and prepare for the future
Greater transparency regarding economic trends and corporate strategies can enable workers and companies to anticipate future needs and take steps to prepare for transitions before they occur.

5) Promoting human-centric innovation in the workplace
Enabling flexible ecosystems in the workplace can help maintain human interaction in tandem with future technological shifts.

6) Managing the ripple effects of change
Mechanisms for financial compensation, re-training, and safety nets (e.g., insurance) should evolve as new forms of work emerge, in order to address the indirect effects of innovation. This can help support innovators at risk of being caught between old support systems and new realities.

7) Sustaining diversity to create a competitive workforce
More diverse workforces with representation that leverages non-traditional knowledge, backgrounds and skills of the most underrepresented groups help our respective states better navigate economic transitions, and remain competitive in the long-run.

For more details on the Principles for Action, please follow this link. Special thanks.

We would like to extend our many thanks to the following individuals and stakeholders for their support to make the Montreal youth consultation a reality.

Canada Economic Development for allowing us to host this important discussion in their Montreal office.
Tracy Thiessen — Director General, Service Canada
Canadian G7 presidency and the Canadian G7 Sherpa, Peter Boehm for supporting the voice of youth.
Global Shapers Community, in particular the Ottawa Hub for spearheading this initiative.
Simon Labrecque for his dedication in spearheading the Montreal consultation and bringing together local Shapers, members of the community, and a wide range of stakeholders to have this important discussion.

This article also included contributions from Viva Dadwal and Nirushaa Senthilnathan — outgoing and incoming curators of the Montreal hub.

This piece was written by Global Shaper, Miguel A. Rozo, who helped to co-host the Shape7 Montreal youth consultation. Miguel is a TEDx speaker, public policy advocate, analyst, and social entrepreneur based in Canada. Feel free to check out his blog at www.MiguelRozo.com.