The Future Of Regulation: Navigating The Intersection Of Regulation, Innovation, And Society.


Government & Public Services leadership perspectives

Regulation, disruption and the future of work

Today’s disruptions are creating a slew of new products, services and ideas to enjoy. Transit, hospitality, financial services, supply chain management and so on are all innovating and challenging the status quo, reimagining how we go about our daily lives, how we interact and connect with each other, and how we should set rules that are in the public’s best interest.

Indeed, setting rules that are fit for purpose is key to unlocking technology’s and new business models’ full potential. What may have worked in the past is being upended, in this fast-paced, constantly shifting environment.

But it is not just the digital platform revolution where the future of regulation applies. It also applies to other areas of import, like employment. Consider the changing contours of work and the workplace.


Work and skills are changing

Some companies today require a different kind of employee than was needed a generation, or even a decade, ago. Many of the hard skills to do a job well will be obsolete in just a few years. Labor market reforms to rewire skills will be required if economies are to effectively empower talent. APEC, OECD, G20 and other pivotal inter-governmental bodies are all actively debating the best way forward. 

This new landscape, managed properly, may offer more opportunities than ever with a workforce equipped to handle the rapidly changing environment that will characterize economies for decades to come. 

One of these opportunities for employers is worker mobility—that is, the ability to source the best talent wherever they are and whenever they need them. Regulators can help facilitate with tax incentives, state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure, and unemployment benefits that recognize the likelihood of periods of joblessness over the course of a person’s career. Businesses, too, have a role to play by considering how best to invest in lifelong learning and training, and redeploy talent to future-proof skills. 


Laying the foundation and building on it

It is essential to understand the nature of these changes as they are happening. If, for example, people in the fields of education and training could predict the greatest skill deficits, they may be better prepared to move quickly and develop programs that teach these specific, in-demand skills. 

Cooperating with the private sector, skills training programs can supplement or complement ongoing upgrades offered to employees in much the same way advanced degrees are becoming more and more customizable. By showing flexibility, a jurisdiction that grasps what employers will be looking for in the future will have a strong competitive advantage when it comes to attracting new investment. 

We must also recognize that soft skills, such as adaptability and leadership, are more important than ever in an Industry 4.0 workplace where many workers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, identify as essential for their success.

The right skills: taking the cue from industry

Gaining this kind of foresight on in-demand skills requires open and transparent public-private dialogue. Only through such dialogue, can we foster smart rulemaking and holistically frame the issues and solutions. 

Regulators, employers, educators, and all interested parties must listen to one another and share in the building

of an employment eco-system in which:

  • Companies can find the skills they need;
  • Employees can find the jobs they want, and;
  • Governments can better understand where policies are working and where there are gaps.


We’ve been here before

The good news is that change is not new. When the industrial economy of developed nations demanded better educated workers in the early 20th century, investments in the public-school system provided them. Similar investments in STEM disciplines at the post-secondary level have helped propel us into Industry 4.0. Both disruptions signaled the beginning of an exciting new era that presented a whole new assortment of opportunities.

There’s no reason why we can’t do the same this time.


By David Barnes, Global Managing Director, Public Policy


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key contact

Clare Lu

Clare Lu

Lily Ji

Lily Ji