Digit Debates: Protecting workers in the digital age

3 March 2021


Held in conjunction with the University of Sussex Future of Work Research Hub


Debates on the future of work have focused far too much attention on possible job losses, ignoring the deterioration in job quality experienced by many of the world’s workers. In this talk, Janine Berg explains how technological advances are merely facilitating a decades’ long trend of shifting risk onto workers through outsourcing and the use of other non-standard forms of employment. These transformations have also revealed many longstanding shortcomings of the industrial era of labour protection, which excluded workers outside of traditional, industrial employment, and did not sufficiently value the contributions of unpaid care work. As such, it argues that changes in the world of work offer an opportunity to rethink and restructure labour markets to better reflect the needs and realities of 21st century society.


Janine Berg is Senior Economist with the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland.  Since joining the ILO in 2002, she has conducted research on the economic effects of labour laws as well as provided technical assistance to ILO constituents on policies for generating jobs and improving working conditions.  Janine is the author of several books and numerous articles on employment, labour market institutions and the digital transformation of work and was the lead author of the ILO report, ’Non-standard employment around the world: Understanding challenges, shaping prospects‘. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York.

Related reading

Berg, J. (2019) ‘Protecting Workers in the Digital Age: Technology, Outsourcing and the Growing Precariousness of Work

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