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Future of work

Taking a stand

The future of work isn’t just about data, robots and algorithms – it’s about people.

We believe the future of work must put people first - by equipping them to adapt, grow and ultimately to thrive.

There’s no question that Covid-19 has led to turbulent global markets and a rising inequality that’s affecting some groups more than others, such as girls and women. And even as some economies start to rebound, it continues to reshape the employment landscape for young and old alike, and to accelerate the integration of technology into all types of roles and industries.

But in all of this, we see potential. A chance to do things differently. An opportunity to reshape how we work to build a better business and a better world.

We believe every person has the right to a productive life. The right not just to work, but to take part in society in a way that feels meaningful to them. And every business has a moral and economic responsibility to help protect people’s livelihoods, even if they can’t protect the jobs they do.

Female employees in a Unilever factory

For business to thrive, society has to be thriving: from employees to consumers to suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders. This is an economic imperative as well as a moral one. We know that the dual impact of technology and the pandemic-induced recession is increasing inequality – with jobs held by younger workers, women and lower wage earners most affected by the initial economic contraction in 2020. And without action now to tackle inequality, McKinsey estimates that global GDP growth could be $1 trillion lower in 2030. So now is the time to reset jobs by re-imagining the working landscape.

This means imagining not just what the world of work might look like in 10 and 20 years, but what we want it to look like. This means involving people from all areas of Unilever – employees and their representatives – as part of our solutions from the outset, not seeing them as a problem to be solved.

Our people are at the heart of our business. So we’re putting them at the centre of our focus on the future of work. We’re making sure they understand their own personal purpose – and giving them a sense of belonging and the support they need to feel happy and healthy. As the landscape of work changes, we’re equipping each person to adapt and grow – and ultimately thrive – whether this means pursuing a new career or different way of working or retraining. And by doing all of this, we’re helping everyone keep pace with change and continue to work with purpose.

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