Sustainable work in transition. Policy background, concepts and research arenas

  • Kenneth Abrahamsson Luleå university of technology



Future of work is today discussed at global level in Agenda 2030 and SDG 8, by ILO and in the Global Deal which is a multi-stakeholder initiative for social dialogue and inclusive growth. Future of work, social innovations and inclusive growth are also central policy missions for the OECD, the European Commission, and its agencies Cedefop, EU-OSHA and Eurofound. The European Pillar of Social Rights highlights the need for a European social model promoting a progressive interplay between economic development, god working conditions and social protection. This article analyses concepts of quality of work, decent work, and sustainable work. Its title comprises different connotation of sustainable work in transition. Firstly, sustainable work has not got significant attention in the policy agenda on sustainable development. Secondly, new forms of work and the dissolution of the traditional workplace and standard employment relations call for a widened use of the content of sustainable work. Thirdly, the Green Deal, low carbon omissions and new energy systems will have substantial impact on work organisation and production systems. Finally, digitalization, labour market transformations and increasing job longevity make job shifts and skills upgrading more common and sustainable work must be seen in a life-course and lifelong perspective.