The COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact on the global labor market, say experts. This is evidenced by the findings of researchers and major global events…
… such as China International Occupational Safety and Health Expo (CIOSH), World Congress on Occupational Safety and Health in Toronto, the A+A exhibition in Dusseldorf, A-OSH Expo in South Africa, and not only.
An analysis of the key themes and trends of 2019-2021 labor health protection events shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global labor market soon. On the one hand, the situation with the novel coronavirus has led to an economic and social crisis of unprecedented proportions. On the other hand, it has shown new opportunities to solve global problems of digitalization, sustainable development, overcoming inequalities in the workplace, and many others. This is the agenda that is now typical for all industry events.
International events with a relevant focus are very illustrative. They help to see how formats and focal points are changing. An analysis of the events that took place before and during the pandemic provided an opportunity to take a closer look at the achievements in the segment of labor protection since it has proven to be one of the most vulnerable.
Such issues as minimizing the number of workplace accidents, legislative regulation of the sector, and general gaps in the occupational safety and health program were actively discussed in 2019. In addition, the problem of shaping a psychologically safe work environment was very acute. All of these events were held in person.
Everything unexpectedly changed in 2020. The world of work has undergone more changes than one might have expected with the start of the pandemic. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention, workers have the right to expect a safe and healthy work environment, and the pandemic has put that right in jeopardy.
The pandemic left practically no aspect of the workplace unchanged. On the one hand, workers were at risk of catching a virus in the workplace. On the other hand, they faced challenges in meeting safety requirements as measures to prevent the spread of infection were put in place but at the same time, workers received an opportunity to work remotely. However, the convenient format also exacerbated possible risks, including psychosocial ones. The pandemic crisis highlighted the need to strengthen occupational health services, both at the enterprise level and at the state level. The year 2020 showed how important prevention measures are. Companies that took care to comply with occupational health and safety regulations were not only more successful in overcoming the crisis but were also able to gain the trust of their employees.
Many activities related to occupational health and safety were moved from face-to-face to remote mode or postponed altogether. Their main topics were measures to combat the spread of infection.
Many events related to safety and health protection were held online instead of in in-person format or were postponed. They were dedicated to the measures to combat the spread of infection.
The COVID-19 pandemic had become a new reality to be adapted to by 2021. A discussion of the opportunities brought by the pandemic was added to the agenda of events dedicated to healthcare. The novel coronavirus is believed to have the most direct impact on the future job market.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is now one of the hot topics as information technology has not only opened up access to remote work but it has also helped to train employees in COVID-19 prevention measures, allowed community organizations to put their activities into an interactive format, and forced the digitalization of all social processes.
The situation is creating real opportunities for social security institutions. To be more precise, leveraging digital transformation to ensure continuity of care, collaborating with the financial sector, increasing social security's role as a stabilizer for the economy, and convincing authorities, businesses, and employees of the importance of deploying health protection and safety programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that informal and temporary jobs are unstable. This has intensified the debate about social security in the context of emerging labor markets and the digitalization of the economy. It is also related to the rise in the number of self-employed workers.
The issue of labor inequality is even more acute. Millions of people have become unemployed and less socially valued than before in the wake of the pandemic crisis.
Increasing inequality in several states has become a huge problem in the past few decades. It concerned income inequality before the pandemic between different groups of society, and so on. This gap was either rising or remaining at high levels all the time. After the pandemic began, the situation critically deteriorated. Experts believe that this could have affected the rate and sustainability of economic growth, as well as caused environmental degradation and an increased risk of social upheaval or political instability.
The United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is at the forefront of efforts to cope with this problem.