Pakistan faces labour market challenges
ISLAMABAD, Jan 24: The shares of wages and salaried workers, own-account workers and contributing family workers in Pakistan account for around one-third of employment, estimates a new report on global employment published by International Labour Organisation.
The report, ‘Global Employment Trend 2012′ states that Pakistan continues to address a range of complex challenges including political and macroeconomic instability and the impact of the devastating floods for job creation.
On the other hand, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012 published by the United Nations says that employment situation in Pakistan remains weak as the sluggish growth rate over the past few years has had a negative impact on employment. Long-standing structural problems such as weak policy implementation, security concerns and low investment in physical and human capital constrain growth. However, economic conditions are expected to improve slightly in 2012, but growth will remain well below potential, according to the survey.
The ILO report says that South Asia now accounts for almost half of the world’s working poor, estimated to be 46.2 per cent in 2011. The fall in working poverty in South Asia is due in part to a rise in real wages over the past decades.
The report warns that other decent work deficits were looming large in the region as South Asia has the highest rate of vulnerable employment own-account workers plus contributing family workers of any region.
The report while stating that unemployment is not the main labour market challenge in South Asia, the unemployment rate in the region was estimated to have been just 3.6 per cent in 2011, down from 3.8 per cent a year before.
A major reason for the slow growth in employment in recent years is the fall in female labour force participation that has occurred in the region. Similar to other regions, the unemployment rate is higher for youth (9.9 per cent), and women (4.8 per cent).
South Asia continues to derive a livelihood from agriculture, and in 2011, the sector accounted for 51.5 per cent of employment. South Asia continues to derive a livelihood from agriculture. In 2010, this sector accounted for 51.4 per cent of employment, although this is down by almost 11 per cent points from the share in 1991. As of 2010, industry and services accounted for just 20.7 per cent and 27.9 per cent of workers in South Asia, according to the report.
The ILO report pointed out that the main labour market challenges in South Asia are twofold and consist of achieving the twin goals of increasing labour productivity, to ensure that incomes were rising and poverty was failing, and creating enough jobs for a growing working-age population, which is expanding by around 2 per cent each year.
Reflecting the high share of employment in agriculture, working poverty persists at very high level. Based on a $2 a day international poverty line, South Asia has globally the highest proportion of working poor at 67.3 per cent in 2011, down from 86.0 per cent in 1991.