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Adaptability and Accountability in Human Capital for the Future

Dr. John Kirton, Co-Director, G20 Research Group, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto;
Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China
Co-editor, G20 Australia Summit: Brisbane (forthcoming from Newsdesk Media)
July 17, 2014

Generating jobs requires having the right workers with the right skills and motivation in the right place at the right time. So said Steve Sargent in introducing the work of his B20 Task Force on Human Capital, at the launch of the B20 Summit in Sydney on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.

This work, done by 60 members from all G20 members, comes in five areas: maximizing job creation; improving education, skills and training; matching supply and demand; improving the adaptability and responsiveness of labour markets; and creating accountability for the real progress that these recommendations seek to bring.

Backed by this work, Sargent had credible answers to today's tough questions that are inevitably raised by the subject of labour, such as importing skilled labour and low-cost labour. Beyond this, he offered the forward-looking, hopeful, transformational vision and agenda that G20 governors badly need.

Emphasizing the current and coming changes that are as great as those brought by the industrial revolution centuries ago, he highlighted the need for life-long learning, for greater female participation in the workforce, and for the new jobs arising in health care as societies age.

Above all he grounded this, with great practicality, in the accountability and responsibility that each person has for adaptability and relearning as the workplaces and societies around them change. His clear, compelling cry — "we are all accountable" — could usefully serve as the central call for all involved in G20 governance, including the leaders themselves.

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