For the first time in history the global urban population is outnumbering the rural population. By 2050 it is expected that two third of the world population will be living in urban areas. Urban planning, transport systems, access to information, education and decent work are key to sustainable urban development. This is stated in Randstad’s latest flexibility@work research which is published today at the OECD Forum in Paris.

Cities are hubs for human and economic development. They already account for over 70 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and generate economic growth and prosperity for many. The networks connecting people across continents are becoming denser, faster and wider every year. Mutual dependence and transnational connections of cities, businesses and citizens alike lead to a need for policies that cater to these complex ecosystems.
Cities are attractive to both wealthy and poor individuals. That is why large cities often have high levels of inequality. Much of this inequality can be traced back to citizens potential on the labor market, which is highly affected by technological advancements. Routine jobs are most vulnerable to technological advancement, but new non-routine jobs can arise.

Randstad CEO, Jacques van den Broek: “Every new highly skilled job in technology can be a catalyst for up to 5 new unrelated jobs, both low and medium skilled. Most of these new jobs are created in cities where there is a large low-skilled workforce present that can be upskilled. Skills, including soft skills, are essential for an inclusive urban labor market. By investing in education, labor mobility and targeted public-private partnerships, cities can be both competitive and inclusive for all their residents. Only then we can create the skilled workforce and agile inclusive labor market that will be key to sustainable urban development. There is a role to take for local governments to meet these expectations.”

In the future of work, a competitive city’s value proposition is not confined to its ability to attract businesses. A competitive city offers opportunities for all residents, seeks to reduce inequalities, and protects the vulnerable.

You can find the report available here: flexibility@work 2018