GENEVA –The International Labour Organization (ILO) said Wednesday in a report that improvements in the quality of work are not matching progress in reducing unemployment globally.
The ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019 report said that poor quality employment is the main issue for global labour markets, with millions of people forced to accept inadequate working conditions.
New data gathered for 2019 trends report showed that a majority of the 3.3 billion people employed globally in 2018 had inadequate economic security, material well-being and equality of opportunity. What’s more, progress in globally reducing unemployment does not show improvements in the quality of work.
The ILO report cites the persistence of significant deficits in decent work, warning that, at the current rate of progress, attaining decent jobs for all, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 8, seems unrealistic for many countries.
"SDG 8 is not just about full employment but the quality of that employment," said Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy. "Equality and decent work are two of the pillars underpinning sustainable development." The annual report also highlights some areas of progress. It says that should the world economy manage to avoid a significant downturn; unemployment is projected to decline further in many countries.
There has also been a considerable decrease in working poverty in the last 30 years, especially in middle-income countries, and a rise in the number of people in education or training.
It singles out China’s contribution to working poverty reduction as significant. "China since 1993 has contributed significantly to reducing the share and the overall number of working poor in the group of low- and middle-income countries," says the report.
By contrast, the absolute number of working poor people is rising in sub-Saharan Africa despite the declining working poverty rate there. In Africa, the labour force is projected to expand by more than 14 million a year.
Economic growth rates until 2020 are expected to be too low to create enough quality jobs for this fast-growing labour force on the continent.