ILO Developing with jobs – I First Part of the Summary of the World of Work Report 2014

29 Gen

Il documento 29/1/2015

“The findings of the Report suggest that sustained development is not possible without making progress on the employment and decent work agenda”

Developing countries are catching up with advanced economies …

The process of economic convergence between developing countries and advanced economies has gathered momentum. Between 1980 and 2011, per capita income in developing countries grew, on average, by 3.3 per cent per year – much faster than the 1.8 per cent per capita income growth recorded in advanced economies. This process of convergence has accelerated since the early 2000s, especially since the start of the global crisis in 2007–08.

There are, however, significant cross-country differences. The report identifies a group of emerging economies which have grown particularly fast. In recent years, most low- and medium-income countries and least developed coun­tries have also made significant progress in terms of economic growth.


… with those countries that are investing in quality jobs making most progress

The extent to which countries have made efforts to improve job quality plays a part in explaining the observed growth patterns. This is particularly the case over the past decade. In countries that have made the greatest invest­ment in quality jobs from the early 2000s, living standards (as measured by the growth in average annual per capita income) improved more than in developing and emerging economies that paid less attention to quality jobs.

Among those countries where working poverty – including workers earning less than US$2 a day – declined most steeply from the early 2000s, overall per capita income grew by 3.5 per cent, on average, over the 2007–12 period. For those countries that made least progress in cutting working poverty since the early 2000s the figure is only 2.4 per cent.

Likewise, countries that were particularly successful in reducing the inci­dence of vulnerable employment during the early 2000s enjoyed significant eco­nomic growth after 2007. In these countries, per capita growth was almost 3 per cent per year between 2007 and 2012, practically 1 percentage point higher than in countries making least progress in reducing the incidence of vulner­able employment – which includes own-account employment as well as unpaid family work.


However, the disparity in quality jobs remains significant …

Despite these positive trends, employment and social challenges remain acute in most emerging and developing countries. More than half of the developing world’s workers (i.e., nearly 1.5 billion people) are in vulnerable employment. These workers are less likely than wage earners to have formal working arrangements, be covered by social protection such as pensions and health care or have regular earnings. They tend to be trapped in a vicious circle of low-productivity occupations, poor remuneration and limited ability to invest in their families’ health and education, which in turn dampens overall development and growth prospects – not only for themselves but for generations to follow. In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, more than three out of four workers are in vulnerable forms of employment, with women disproportionately affected compared to men.


… levels of working poverty remain elevated despite the considerable progress already made …

The reduction in the incidence of working poverty in many countries of the devel­oping world has been impressive. Still, 839 million workers in developing countries are unable to earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the US$2 a day poverty threshold. This represents around one-third of total employment, compared with over half in the early 2000s.


… and around 200 million new jobs are needed over the next five years to keep pace with the growing working-age population in emerging and developing countries …

Over the next five years there will be an estimated 213 million new labour market entrants – 200 million in developing countries alone. This raises the issue of youth unemployment. Already, the youth unemployment rate exceeds 12 per cent in developing countries – more than three times the unemployment rate for adults. Regionally, the highest youth unemployment rates are found in the Middle East and North Africa regions, where nearly one in three young people in the labour force are unable to find work. Young women, in particular, are struggling to find work in these regions, with unemployment rates approaching 45 per cent.

The job challenge is also qualitative. Indeed, educational attainment is improving fast in most developing countries. There is therefore a growing gap between the skills acquired in education and the nature of jobs available.


… pushing many educated youth to emigrate

The lack of quality jobs is a central determinant of emigration, especially among educated youth in developing countries. The gap in wages between receiving and sending countries tends to be as high as 10 to 1. In 2013, over 230 million people were living in a country other than the one in which they were born – a rise of some 57 million since 2000 – with South Asia accounting for roughly half of this increase.


ILO (International Labour Organization)



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