/ Speakers / Denis Pennel


Denis Pennel

Managing Director, World Employment Confederation, BRUSSELS Belgium



Based on his long term experience in the field of work and industrial relations, Denis Pennel is a well-respected analyst of labour market at European and global level. Work futurist and author of several books (including “The Ego Revolution at Work”), he is regularly invited to act as speaker and lecturer for forums, hearings or conferences. He has been ranked as one of the Top 100 most influential HR professionals at global level. He has been since 2005 the Managing Director of the World Employment Confederation, the professional association representing the employment & recruitment at global level. Born in 1966, he graduated from the French Institute of Political Studies (“Sciences Po Paris”) and subsequently started his career in Paris in 1989 within the Communication Group BDDP/TBWA as PR manager. In 1991, he moved to London to work as a consultant for Financial Dynamics, one of the largest specialist communications consultancies in the UK. In 1993, he came back to Paris to join the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, as Head of Information and was recruited five years later by Manpower France. Besides, from 1998 to 2004, Denis Pennel was a Board member of « Information Presse & Communication », a French trade organisation gathering 350 PR & Corporate Communications consultants ; he was elected President from 2000 to 2003. At the EU level, Denis Pennel has been appointed as a chair to several working groups managed by DG Employment. Denis Pennel is a member of several Brussels-based think tanks, including CEPS (Center for European Policies and Studies) and EPC (European Policy Center) for which he actively contribute to their activities. He has published many articles and opinion pieces related to the functioning of the labour market. He is a member of the Cercle de Lorraine business club (Belgique).


Uberisation, on-line work, digital workers, the platformisation of the economy – these are all terms used to describe new ways of working. While they attract a good deal of attention, they are all in fact symptoms of something more fundamental: the rise of the on-demand economy and global supply chains management.
This on-demand economy is characterised by four main trends. Firstly, it is ownership being replaced by usage – as illustrated by car sharing. Secondly, we see a mass customisation of production – as demonstrated by retail giant Zara and its temporary clothes collection. Thirdly, we see a servicification of industry where the product is equalled or perhaps even surpassed by the service that comes with it – such as with bike hiring in cities. Finally, real-time production is the new normal, or even goods being produced to order – with all the elements of zero-stock policy and yield management that this entails.
In servicing this on-demand economy, the world of work will have to change significantly. Because companies will have to adapt and implement new production models that allow for mass customisation. To do this, they will have to look to a global supply chain management system that delivers the speed and agility that consumers demand. From a workforce management point of view, that means that the standard work relationship of the future is unlikely to be characterised by wage employment. More likely it is going to comprise a complex web of relationships with workers seeking out a range of different work opportunities and building them into a portfolio ‘job’ while companies will have to implement total talent management strategies comprised of a variety of work relationships.

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