OECD Development Centre suggested that Asian economies are projected to grow slow but steady on average of 5.7 percent in 2020 through 2024. This growth is the result of stability in the labour market, and in certain cases, inflows of income from overseas workers will sustain domestic consumption. In addition, there is a realisation of infrastructure projects that are already in the pipeline which will provide more lift to domestic demand.
There will be more job openings in Asia and Pacific which will increase employment status in Asia. In fact, since 2018, unemployment in the region is relatively low with employment growth by 1.2 percent through 2019, ILO reported.
In 2020, Asia is forecast to have more job openings following the growth of GDP. According to Robert Half survey, there are approximately 6.8 million job openings and 5.8 million people hired in January 2020 alone. In Singapore, there is an overall high level of confidence in business growth with 40 percent of leaders are adding new permanent positions and another 40 percent are planning to maintain staff level and focus on filling vacated roles.
A large portion of job openings and employment, however, are expected to remain of poor quality, ILO reported. There is a share of vulnerable employment which will continue to affect workplaces and candidates. This is more pervasive among women than men, especially in South-Eastern Asia. The vulnerable employment is closely associated with the fact that there remains poor working condition, workplace inequality, and discrimination. Hence, the pace of structural transformation processes remains relatively slow in large parts of the Asian region.
Poor employment quality also happens due to infrequent skilled labours who can operate in the day-to-day business with machines and automation. UNICEF, The Global Business Coalition for Education, and General Unlimited shared that Asia, especially South Asia regions, lags behind several other regions in preparing the next generation of young people with the skills they need for 21st-century work. An estimated 54 percent of South Asian youth leave school without the necessary skills to get a decent job in the next decade.
These findings highlight the need for businesses to invest greatly in upskilling and reskilling their workers. Especially for the youth generation, business leaders might need to create initiatives to help the young operate easily in day-to-day work responsibility. Supporting government’s internship and apprenticeship programs can also be the answer to address the poor quality of employment in APAC.