Published on Jobs and Development

Our top picks for summer reading on jobs and development

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The town of Mafraq in the north of Jordan had 90,000 inhabitants before the Syrian crisis, with the influx of refugees its population has swelled to 200,000. Photo: William Stebbins / World Bank

We have curated the following articles and papers for summer reading. They highlight the ongoing coverage of the impact of technology and jobs, the need for new sets of skills relevant to the digital economy, the need for refugees to find work quickly and the global imperative for creating good jobs in Africa.

1.The Outlook for Global Employment
The OECD’s annual Employment Outlook report has come out and it predicts that global employment will return to pre-crisis levels in 2017. But wage growth remains weak. It calls for better use of skills and structural reforms to ‘to boost productivity, support job creation, improve job satisfaction and raise living standards’. It also contains an interesting section on the work needed to close the gender gap in employment and pay in developing markets. Read it here.
2. Getting Refugees Working
IZA World of Labor have produced an interesting article looking at the differing speeds at which migrants economically integrate with their new home countries. It finds that those who enter the country as refugees take considerably longer to integrate than those who enter to join family or those who enter specifically to work. The reason? The time it takes to process asylum requests can lead to an atrophying of skills. Read it here.
3. Africa’s Number One Priority? Jobs
David Pilling from the Financial Times looks at the population boom in Africa. It is both a huge opportunity for reducing poverty and creating economic prosperity, but also a huge challenge. What will determine which outcome is the rate at which the continent can generate jobs. ‘Get it right and Africa could yet be an engine for the world. Get it wrong, and mass migration, terrorism and conflict beckon,’ he writes. Read it here.
4. The Gig Economy is Bigger than you Thought
Time has written up the result of a US survey undertaken by the Aspen Institute which seeks to gauge how big the gig economy actually is in the US. It finds that 40% of the US population has already used platforms such as AirBnB or Uber. It has a useful summation of the regulatory issues that policy makers are facing in the attempts to get a handle on what is variously called the sharing economy, the on-demand economy or the gig economy. Read it here.
5. Skills Beyond the Classroom
John Hewko from Rotary International has written an interesting article for Medium in which he looks at what skills can be taught to people who lack a formal education. These he calls global skills, which allow participation in the digital work force as opposed to academic skills, and which will help people get better jobs or improve their existing work. ‘Today’s workers need more than foundational literacy and numeracy skills…[they need] the opportunity to master the 21st-century skills they need to succeed in the rapidly evolving global digital economy.’ Read it here.
6. Robots are Replacing Workers
The World Economic Forum features an article by Business Insider looking at the rate of adoption of robotics by the worlds largest companies. Collating research by global investment banks it finds that these large employers, such as Foxconn (which makes Apple products), Walmart and the US Department of Defence are already replacing workers with robots. It is not the future; it is the present. Read it here.
7. Engaging with Unilever
In this blog by Oxfam’s Duncan Green, the author writes how Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman is engaging with the development agenda. It looks in particular at how the company is trying to improve jobs on the ground in its operations in Vietnam and Indonesia. It also speaks more generally about how global companies need to help look at the frameworks that exist that lead to poor working conditions, excluded groups and exploitation. Read it here.

Follow the World Bank Jobs team on Twitter @wbg_jobs

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