Deep dive into Digital Employment

In this futures deep dive, we built on the chapter on Digital Employment and further explored what new opportunities and risks arise for forcibly displaced people and the humanitarian sector at the intersection of 'digital' and ‘employment’? 

"Boundaries between formal and informal work are blurring, and digital and non-digital work are blurring."  

"In the future, an employee's location, nationality, ethnicity, gender, etc. are not going to matter at all, freeing up more employment for more individuals." 

"Without massive commitment to ensure access for more people, digital employment could risk further divide, although more complex. With right investments, the potential is enormous." 

Desirable future 

The desirable future we co-created in this deep dive, is a future in which: 

  • The internet is a safe space for all, and there is a duty of care. 

  • The youth are connected to the private sector and have access to the tools and skills they need, as well as employment opportunities. These all lead to meaningful outcomes for the youth. 

  • Young people are supported in navigating in the digital space from a young age. 

  • There's a positive regulation in place allowing refugees to work digitally regardless of their origin or the country they are living in. There is no more stigma attached to being a refugee. There are no labor restrictions allowing anyone to participate in the labor market. 

  • The education of refugees is rethought and reshaped and is of great relevance and quality putting refugees on the same career pathway as others.  

  • Diplomas and existing skills are universally recognised. Forcibly displaced don’t need to prove their skills with additional education. 

Bridging tomorrow and today

For this desirable future to be realised, we need: 

  • More equal access to all infrastructure around digital employment, including universally recognized identity. 

  • Better policy and regulation regarding the digital economy and labour rights, including norms and standards for refugee inclusion in digital labour platforms. 

  • To address gaps in digital skills. We also need more equitable access to skills development and education for digital employment. Employers need to be actively engaged in designing educations, offering apprenticeships and employment opportunities. 

  • To partner with refugees when designing vocational programs for them – do it with them! 

  • Create Interoperable payment systems so anyone can accept payments from anyone in the world. 

  • New infrastructure for registering businesses that are not tied to a particular location to promote refugee entrepreneurship. We should also support refugee-led organisations to coordinate incubation and acceleration activities for social entreprises. 

  • Advancements in skills recognition and job matching technologies and processes. 

Identifying avenues for change: What can we do today? What can we do together? 

To create interoperable payment systems so anyone can accept payments from anyone in the world, we need to: 

  • Work closely with Fintech companies and define the products and solutions that they develop. 

  • Promote credit history and recording data on transactions for low-come populations to facilitate access to credit. 

  • Focus building financial literacy and digital financial literacy. 

To engage employers actively, we need to: 

  • Build audacity and courage to value diverse skilss and capacities. 

  • Challenge and change narratives around refugees - its 'just' a situation that a person happens to be in. 

  • Sometimes refugees need more skills building to fit into the demands of employers. We should look into existing guidelines, like one made by TF4Women, on how to prepare them better. 

To align legislation and regulation with digital realities, we need to: 

  • Leverage regional and global mechanisms and bodies to support national policy and legislative changes. 

  • Ensure refugee inclusion in regulatory developments for nationals/host community vis-a-vis digital economy. We need to build powerful multi-stakeholder coalitions. 

  • Create mechanisms for building up evidence base, also leveraging non-displacement context re: indirect foreign investment. 

  • Acknowledge that the private sector plays a key role in working with government to expand inclusion, and building evidence based from platform activity - HumOrgs need to part of the convo and steer! 

  • Provide the case/benefits for digital work (beyond national legislation). 

© 2021 by DareDisrupt for DRC