Job creation is a crucial aspect of development. And broad-based, high-quality education is crucial for inclusive development. Worryingly low levels of education quality and quantity show that there is a crisis of education in some West African countries. If inclusive growth is to pull people into the labor market and out of poverty, this must be addressed. Getting education right is a crucial first step on the road to creating better employment and reducing poverty. It must be considered a priority by national governments and donors alike.
Jobs and Development
Rigid labor markets prevent formalization, especially when labor costs are high relative to the productivity of the workforce. Evidence from around the world, from developed and developing countries, shows that employers have a number of ways they adjust to the costs imposed by onerous labor policies. One of the main lessons that policy makers should learn, is that adopting measures that reduce rigidity and costs can help mitigate the negative impacts on unemployment and informality.
Populations are ageing, globally. Prolonging the working life is one of the most pressing challenges for policymakers around the world. As jobless older people face more difficulties in finding work than prime-aged workers, it is important to support workplace retention before retirement. But job retention among older people varies substantially even across neighboring countries or subpopulations. Moreover, retention rates also vary between genders and the largest room for improvement in retention rates pertains to women.
Over the next few decades, the consequences of an ageing population will be particularly visible in Central and Eastern Europe. These developments were behind the multi-pillar pension systems reforms at the end of 1990s and at the beginning of the century. After the financial and fiscal crisis of 2008, these reforms were slowed down and partially or fully reversed. In our recent study of this retreat from mandatory pension funds in Central and Eastern European countries, we look at the causes and consequences of these changes.
What makes some entrepreneurs grow their businesses and employ hundreds, or even thousands, of people? Knowing this is crucial for all governments keen to drive economic growth. For economic development, it is important to focus on opportunity entrepreneurs instead of subsistence entrepreneurs. They are likely to grow their business faster, employ more people, and introduce innovation that could help fill important gaps in the market, while boosting productivity in the economy.
On May 1st, the world marks International Worker’s Day. Sadly, hundreds of millions of young people have little to celebrate. Instead, they struggle to find work or secure a decent livelihood – and right now, their options don’t look to be getting much better. We have developed a conceptual pathway to employment that shows how all stakeholders can work together to achieve youth employment at scale. At the same time, our framework recognizes that youth take their first steps on the pathway beset with what we may call ‘underlying determinants’ or characteristics that can shape choices or affect their opportunities.
Minimum wage standards have the force of law. Yet, establishing a legally binding minimum wage does not in itself mean that these are applied in practice. In reality, compliance is always less than perfect in both advanced and developing countries. Understanding which factors determine compliance is important. Our analysis shows that compliance is affected by both the level at which minimum wages are set relative to average wages, as well as by institutional factors.
Whether—and how—to integrate asylum seekers features prominently on the political agenda in so many European countries. The situation in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries facing conflict, civil war, and terrorism make it impossible to ignore the challenges associated with the mass migration of people from these areas. Ignoring the crisis is no solution; neither is xenophobic rhetoric or building more fences and tightening border controls. There is, however, a sensible approach that would certainly help with integrating refugees in the destination countries‘ labor markets.
Policymakers the world over are concerned about jobs. It is often the first thing they talk about when World Bank delegations meet them, and the last message they leave us with on our way back to Washington. So it should come as no surprise that jobs has been chosen as one of the central themes of the IDA-18 replenishment round.
In 2010, I seemed to be at the top of my game. But after nearly fifteen years at the helm of SEIU I had lost my ability to predict labor’s future. By 2010, the economy was changing and fragmenting at such warp speed that I couldn’t see where it — or labor — was headed. At the end of that year I embarked on what became a four-year journey to discover the future of jobs, work, and the American Dream. If there are significantly fewer jobs and less work available in the future, how will people make a living, spend their time, and find purpose in their lives? I believe there is a solution – the universal basic income or UBI.