Moving jobs centre stage
* In today’s global economy, the world job market is rapidly evolving. Demographic shifts, technological progress and the lasting effects of the international crisis are shaping the employment landscape in countries around the world.
* Countries that successfully adapt to these changes and meet their job challenges can achieve dramatic gains in living standards, productivity growth and more cohesive societies. Those that would not will miss out on the transformation effects of economic and social development.
* Jobs are vulnerable to economic downturn, though, much more so in the private sector than the public sector. Short-time crisis may wipe out years of progress. They may start in a single country but now, through globalisation , spread over entire regions or the world.
* Economic growth happens as jobs become more productive, but also as more productive jobs are created and less productive jobs disappear. These gains may be driven by new goods, new methods of production and transportation and new markets but they materialise through a constant restructuring and reallocation of resources including labour.
* On average across the developing countries, between seven and twenty per cent of jobs in manufacturing are created within a year but a similar proportion disappear.
* The centrality of jobs in the developing process as the starting point needs to be recognised. Critically, jobs are not found in the formal sector; depending on the country’s context, informal jobs can also be transformational.
* Should countries design their development strategies around growth or focus on jobs. Are there situations where the focus should be on protecting jobs as opposed to protecting workers?
* Well-designed labour policies can help ensure that growth translate into employment opportunities, but they need to complemented by a broad approach to job creation that looks beyond the labour market.
* Jobs are the cornerstone of economic and social development. Indeed, development happens through jobs. People work their way out of poverty and hardship through better livelihood. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds
and nurture a sense of responsibility. Jobs are thus transformational –they can transform what we earn, what we do and even who we are.”
* Labour policies: Because growth alone may not be enough, labour policies need to facilitate job creation and enhance the development
pay-offs from jobs. Policies can address labour market distortions while not being a drag on efficiency…..they must provide voice and protection for the most vulnerable.
* Priorities: Remove or at least offset –the market imperfections and institutional failures that result in few of those jobs being created.
* The centrality of jobs for development should not be interpreted as the centrality of labour policies and institutions. Nearly half the
people at work in developing countries are farmers or self-employed and are outside the labour market. Part-time and temporary wage employment are now major features of industrial and developing countries.
* The catalysts for job creation may be policies that make citizens work better, help farmers access appropriate agricultural techniques or allow firms to develop new exports.
* Quantitative analysis confirms that changes in labour earnings are the largest contributor to poverty reduction. What made the difference for countries escaping poverty was increasing earnings from work.
* Outside agriculture, massive numbers of micro enterprises and household businesses play significant role in job creation , even in high middle-income countries. They account for 97 per cent employment in manufacturing sector in Ethiopia and a sizeable 39 per cent in Chile.
In middle-income countries, many, among the micro and small enterprises, are as entrepreneurial as their peers in industrial countries.
* Concept of decent work introduced by International Labour Organisation has been defined as “opportunities for men and women to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.”
* Today, an estimated 21 million people globally are victims of bonded labour, slavery, and other forms of involuntary work.
—Extracts from the World Bank Development Report 2013.