Shaping the Future of Work

Statement by Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie at G20 Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting May 18th 2017.

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Thank you, Minister Nahles.

Let me start by expressing my appreciation to the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for all the excellent work they have done in preparing this meeting and all the important discussions here.

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Technology is changing our labour markets and our economies.

No one really knows how the future will unfold.

But structural change is, of course, nothing new.

And our labour markets are in constant flux.

In any given year, a significant portion of jobs disappear – and new ones are created.

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When we look to previous experiences in Norway, we can see that certain features of our labour market have been helpful in tackling change.

Tripartite cooperation and involvement of social partners has fostered a shared basic understanding of both challenges and solutions.

We have been able to agree that we do not want to halt change.

High levels of coordination in wage bargaining has contributed to balanced wage growth.

A compressed wage structure has not only limited inequality.

It has made it lucrative for businesses to invest in the skills of workers.

This has been particularly beneficial for the growth of new, and more productive, industries – and better jobs.

Of course, availability and accessibility of publicly funded education and training programs has also helped.

And public social welfare benefits and labour market programs have cushioned workers from the worst effects of job loss and helped them find new jobs. 

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We can't be certain that the lessons of the past apply to the challenges of the future.

We see that some features of our labour market are now coming under pressure.

But when that is said, we haven't given up our belief in the Nordic way -- that it provides a way to tackle future challenges and reap the rewards of innovation and change.

Thank you for your attention.