7 PM | Trends in World of Work and the Way Forward | 23 January, 2019

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International Labour Organization’s (ILO) has released a report titled ‘Future of Work’

Current State of the World of Work

According to ILO,

  1. The job creation has been positive from 1991 to 2016, however, growth in job has remained below the population growth.The total employment in 2016 stood at 3.2 billion.
  2. The female labour participation has increased considerably over the past years and at presents stands at 49% (27% below that of males)
  3. Working poverty has declined significantly. The share of employed persons in emerging and developing countries living in extreme poverty (i.e. living with their families on less than US$1.90 per person per day) fell from over 50% in 1991 to just over 10% in 2016
  4. There have been significant gains in social protection and at present there is no country without some sort of social protection scheme for workers
  5. Improvements in labour regulation have significantly improved occupational health and safety for workers in many sectors. For example: The number of fatal injuries/ 1000 workers have decreased from 7.5 for the period 2003–2007 to 3.5 for the period 2011–2015.
  6. There have been significant improvement in effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation


  1. Unemployment:
  • Job creation has not been sufficient to absorb the growth in the number of people seeking jobs. As of 2016, there were some 198 million jobless people globally who have been actively seeking employment
  • Women and young people are more vulnerable to unemployment
  1. Poor Quality Employment:
  • Working poverty still remains a major concern. In 2016,  emerging  and  developing  countries  accounted for a  total  of  783  million  working  poor
  • Globally, nearly 43% of employed peoplewere in own-account or contributing family work which is  often  characterized  by  low  pay,  informality  and  limited  social  security
  1. Diversification of employment forms:
  • Concerns about job quality have grown in recent years with the advent of gig economy and growing contractual and non-standard forms of employment.
  • These forms of employment are often associated with job insecurity, earnings volatility, limited access to social protection schemes or training and career advancement
  1. Income inequality: The distribution between capital and labour and between individuals has dramatically changed resulting in growing income inequality. ILO observes that although workers have become increasingly productive, the benefits of their work have increasingly accrued to capital income and to those at the top of the income distribution
  2. Technology and automation:New technological innovations underpinning the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as Big Data, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics will bring transformative impact on the nature work and result in job destruction

6. Demography changes:

  • In emerging  and  developing countries, changing population dynamics have led to a bulge in the proportion of  the  young  population  entering  the  labour  market; however, job creation has been limited
  • Population ageing in developed countries is increasing pressure on those of working age, particularly in terms of care responsibilities. In the absence of productivity gains, this will lead to slower growth due to shrinking savings and is also likely to increase pressure on public finances
  1. Gender Pay gap: Though female labour force participation has increased the gender pay gap remains a major concern with women still being paid less that 20% than men.
  2. Climate Change:Climate change has resulted in the collapse of fisheries, soil degradation, forced migration, atmospheric and water pollution and the loss of biodiversity and decrease in agricultural productivity. This has affected live and livelihoods of millions across globe.
  3. Digital Divide:Only 53.6% of all households have internet access. In emerging countries, the share is only 15%. Given the rapid technological advancements, digital divide remains a key challenge for skill development and employment opportunities.
  4. Working hours: A large number of workers still work excessively long hours and millions still die of work-related accidents every year. Further, stress at the workplace has aggravated mental health risks.

Way Forward:

  1. Universal Labour Guarantee:All the countries should pledge to provide a universal labour guarantee that protects fundamental workers’ rights, an adequate living wage, limits on hours of work and safe and healthy workplaces
  2. Lifelong Learning:It is important to provide a universal entitlement to lifelong learning that enables people to acquire skills and to reskill and up skill.
  3. Investment to support Work Transition: Investments in the institutions, policies and strategies that will support people through future of work transitions should be increased.
  4. Agenda for Gender Equality: It is important to strengthen women’s voice and leadership, eliminating violence and harassment at work and implementing pay transparency  policies  in order to achieve gender equality
  5. Social Protection:A guaranteed social protection from birth to old age that supports people’s needs over the life cycle should be provided
  6. Revitalizing Collective Representation: It is important to ensure collective representation of workers and employers through social dialogue as a public good, actively promoted through public policies
  7. Technology and Work:A “human-in-command” approach to artificial intelligence should be taken to ensure that the final decisions affecting work are taken by human beings.
  8. Governance for Digital Platforms: An international governance system for digital labour platforms should be established to protect minimum rights of workers
  9. Sustainable Work: Incentives are required to promote investments in key areas for decent and sustainable work- in areas of green, rural economy, small and medium enterprises
  10. Human centric business and economic Model: Distributional dimensions of growth, the value of unpaid work performed in the service of households and communities and the externalities of economic activity, such as environmental degradation should be taken into account for a human centric business and economic Model



Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ilo-urges-universal-labour-guarantee/article26063573.ece

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