The global pandemic wreaked havoc across every aspect of life, sending economies into freefall, disrupting the labor market, and raising concerns for the future of jobs and work. Last month the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit brought together, virtually, more than 1,000 visionary leaders from business, international organisations, and government to discuss, among other things, the future workplace, reskilling and upskilling the workforce, education, and the economic response to the pandemic impact on the labour market, to shape innovative solutions and accelerate action around these critical issues.
Protecting job markets post-pandemic
The global economy took a massive hit from COVID-19, with a devastating impact on the jobs market. Governments and central banks responded with huge stimulus packages totaling more than $11 trillion, interest rate cuts, and acquisitions of large-scale assets in an effort to prevent financial collapse.
There were mixed views on the effectiveness of these interventions in stabilising the labour market and mitigating the economic cost. Economist Raghuram Rajan felt it was too early to judge the efficacy of the monetary and fiscal policy responses to the pandemic, but conceded that many countries had deployed massive amounts of resources to try to preserve the economy.
Adecco Group’s own research, suggests that it is the size of the stimulus package and effective implementation of short-time work programs that have the largest positive impact on a country’s ability to mitigate the economic damage caused by the pandemic.
During this next phase of the crisis, the level of government support needed will be more challenging, and some advocated a different and more dynamic approach. Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, deemed the strategy of using the financial system to build a bridge to the other side of this crisis highly expensive and said that more adjustment was needed in the economy. “We need to see a more dynamic response, and that makes the decisions from here on in more difficult,” she said.
Such a response, suggested Tamar Kitiashvili, deputy minister at Georgia’s Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, might include the reshaping of establishments and governance models to become more responsive and to accelerate the closing of the skills gap.