Participation of the PABSEC International Secretariat in 4th Joint IMF-OECD-World Bank Conference on Structural Reforms, Paris, 15 May 2023

Mr. Miltiadis Makrygiannis, PABSEC Deputy Secretary General participated virtually in the 4th Joint IMF-OECD-World Bank Conference on Structural Reforms which took place on 15 May 2023, in Paris, in the OECD premises.

The event included three sessions, namely “New work patterns from COVID and digitalization”, “Lessons from labour policies during COVID-19”, “Labour market impacts of technology and labour policies” and a policy panel titled “How to build resilient labour markets in the face of rapid changes”.

The participants and keynote speakers noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has induced fundamental shifts in labour markets, working arrangements and business models. At the crisis’ peak, many employees teleworked on a full-time basis, and businesses moved their entire operations away from the office.

Many workers have now returned to the office, but the pandemic has left its mark, pointing to both opportunities for policy reform and risks of scarring. On the one hand, the digitalisation and broader technological change that gained impetus during the pandemic could put economies on a higher productivity path, while providing greater flexibility for workers and employers alike. On the other hand, many workers are still not back in the labour force, resulting in a tight labour market. The current weakening of the economy and high inflation in the context of the war in Ukraine also raise concerns for labour markets and adverse distributional effects, while simultaneously putting a premium on accelerating the green transition. Moreover, in a post-Covid world, where inflation is high and growth fragile, structural policies and technological change can play an important role in ensuring a dynamic, green and inclusive economy.

The conference brought together policymakers and practitioners, international institutions, and leading academics. The conference also discussed how policies can support technology and jobs and how governments can prepare workers for digital and connected labour market.