Riyadh, : Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al Rajhi, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia inaugurated the first-ever Global Labour Market Conference (GLMC) at the King Abdulaziz International Convention Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The opening ceremony was witnessed by an audience of over 6,000 participants and attendees, hailing from over 40 countries. Included among the audience were high-ranking ministers from Saudi Arabia, policymakers, leaders of multinational organizations, heads of business, academics, and representatives of labor.
In his opening address the Al Rajhi highlighted Saudi Arabia’s role in pioneering efforts that bolster international labor markets, allowing them to keep pace with frequent changes.
He continued to highlight that dynamics of the labour market today are altogether different from those witnessed prior, including an increased demand for skills required by future jobs, new professions, and the changing nature of the global workforce.
Al-Rajhi shared a number of statistics emphasising the gravity of ongoing labour market dynamics, both related to emerging technology, such as the expectation that artificial intelligence technologies will create 133 million new jobs by 2030, as well as those related to changing worker preferences, such as the approximately 22 million people in the United States that now work full-time from their homes.
Al-Rajhi implored the audience that efforts be taken to ensure new technologies are implemented to maximize value for the global economy, build work environments free of exploitation, and avoid widespread sudden job loss.
The minister’s address surveyed Saudi Arabia’s local labor market, characterizing it as one of the world’s most diverse, with an established status as a preferred destination for some of the global community’s brightest minds and top talents.
He highlighted how this includes local talent as well, particularly young Saudis who have achieved high levels of preparation and education.
He stressed the talents of this cohort have motivated the Kingdom to create private sector-led work environments that meet the needs of the Saudi people.
Al-Rajhi emphasised Saudi Arabia’s keenness to cooperate with international partners to strengthen resiliency in light of past international crises that demonstrated the need for a unified approach.
He added that only by cooperating can the global community leverage global labor markets dynamics to bring about positive change on a global scale.
The opening ceremony made way for the start of the two-day conference, during which approximately 150 experts will participate in over 40 unique keynote addresses, panel presentations, and breakout sessions focused on the current challenges and future changes facing labour markets.
The sessions are organized across eight key tracks: Global Labor Market Catalysts, Skills & Productivity Conundrums, Labor Market Makeovers, Work for All, AI Needs People?, Labour Market Re-engineered, The Right Way to (De)Regulate, and The Future Proofed Organisation.
The morning’s events were immediately preceded by a ministerial roundtable discussion, during which Al-Rajhi received minister-level labour officials from over 24 countries. During the session, participants discussed the most pressing opportunities and changes facing labor markets and considered joint efforts that can be undertaken to address these challenges.
During the roundtable, Al-Rajhi stressed that the current stage of the global labor market’s evolution necessitates international solidarity, cooperation, and exchange to effectively respond to rapid, unprecedented changes related to workplace practices, emerging technologies, and geopolitical circumstances. Addressing the ministers, he characterised the inaugural GLMC as an apt opportunity to engage in this knowledge exchange and dialogue to formulate policies that lay a foundation for work environments that are resilient to ongoing and future challenges.