Poor Working Condition is the New Employment Challenge

March 12, 20199:54 am
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World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019 (WESO) reported that in 2018, global working age-population was 5.7 billion. About 3.3 billion of them were in employment while 172 million people were unemployed. WESO mentioned that workers who are employed have poor quality employment with millions of them forced to accept inadequate working conditions. Many of employed workers are not being supported by economic security, material well-being, and equality of opportunity. Moreover, progress in reducing unemployment globally is not being reflected in improvements for quality of work.

WESO report revealed that “paid work is key driver of material well-being, economic security, equality of opportunity and human development. However, advances in these areas are still elude a majority of workers across the world.” It means being employed does not guarantee a decent living. Damian Grimshaw, ILO Director of Research, argued that “being in employment does not always guarantee a decent living. For instance, a full 700 million people are living in extreme or moderate poverty despite having employment.”

See also: Employment in the Age of Contracting and Temp Work

Furthermore, as reported, world’s working-age population is at risk of poverty and employment because little pay forced workers to take up vulnerable jobs, especially in informal economy which are typically associated with low salary and little or no access to social protection and rights at work.

Another report published by ILO on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cited that the persistence of a number of major deficits in decent work is in progress. However, SDG 8 that promotes sustained, inclusive, and sustainable workforce seems unrealistic for many countries. Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director General for Policy, said, “SDG 8 is not about full employment but the quality of the employment. Equality and decent work are two of the pillars underpinning sustainable development.”

Likewise, issues highlighted in ILO’s reports are the lack of progress in closing gender gap in labour force. There are only 48 percent women are in the labour force compared to men which dominated up to 75 percent. Women also make up for more potential, yet underutilised, labour force. Persistency of informal employment hits up to 2 billion workers – 61 percent of world’s workforce. Another concern is that more than one in five young people (under 25) are not in employment, education or training, thus compromising their future employment prospects.

Here are the outlook of employment in some regions.

Arab States

  • Regional unemployment I projected to remain stable at 7.3 percent until 202, with unemployment in non-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries reaching double that of the GCC.
  • Migrant workers account for 41 percent of total regional employment, and in GCC countries more than half of all workers are immigrants, on average.
  • Women’s unemployment rate, at 15.6 percent, is three times that of men. Youth are also disproportionately affected and youth unemployment rate is four times the adult rate.

Asia and the Pacific

  • Economic growth continues, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years.
  • The regional unemployment rate is projected to remain at around 3.6 percent until 2020, below global average.
  • Structural transformation has moved workers out of agriculture, but this has not created significant improvement in job quality; a large proportion of workers lack job security, written contracts and income stability.
  • While social protection has been significantly extended in some countries, it remains extremely low in those countries with highest poverty rates.

Europe and Central Asia

  • In Northern, Southern, and Western Europe, unemployment is at its lowest in a decade and is set to continue falling until 2020.
  • In Eastern Europe, number of people in employment is expected to shrink by 0.7 percent in both 2019 and 2020, but a simultaneously shrinking labour force means unemployment rate will fall.
  • Long-term unemployment is as high as 40 percent in some countries.
  • Informality remains widespread, at 43 percent, in Central and Western Asia.
  • Working poverty, poor job quality, and persistent labour market inequalities remain concerns.

Nonetheless, ILO’s reports show that many countries, especially middle-income countries, are seen to be against significant downtown of poor employment. The number people in education or training are rising and working poverty is decreasing. A clearer understanding or remaining challenges on basis of further empirical analysis is necessary to provide all stakeholders with urgent guidance on how to better SDG 8.

Read also: The Increase of Underemployment is Affecting Job Market (Impact, Effect, and Solution)