“The objectives of full employment and raising the standard of living around the world are as essential as ever”. With this statement, the International Labour Organization (ILO) summarizes the overall message of its World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2020 Flagship Report. The document states the former as a way to acknowledge that the predictions for 2020 continue to show “enormous challenges in the world of work, including persistent inequalities and exclusion”.

2020 Trends

The new report taps into the most recent data on labour market performance around the world to convey four key messages:

– The global economy is projected to grow at a slower pace. This fact, combined with an expected lack of inclusiveness, will likely have a negative impact on the ability of lower-income countries to reduced poverty and improve working conditions. Data affecting Cambodia and other countries considered lower-middle income ones show that the employment share of agriculture and elementary occupations declined by only 10 percentage points (to 49%) between 2000 and 2018.

– Labour “underutilization” greatly exceeds unemployment. According to ILO, “underutilization of people of working age” means the mismatch between labour supply and demand. The situation affects an estimate of 470 million people worldwide, who lack adequate access to paid work or are being denied the opportunity to work the desired number of hours.

– Having a job does not mean having a decent one. The report raises concerns about the adequacy of wages, the right to job security and a safe and healthy workplace, access to social protection, the right to join a trade union and fundamental rights such as non-discrimination.

– Work-related inequalities will continue to be a trend in 2020. ILO highlights specifically the “substantial” differences concerning access to work and work quality, making emphasis on income inequality, whose analysis reveal greater rates than previously thought. Women, youth and workers from rural areas face additional obstacles to access the job market.

With a global unemployment rate of 5.4 per cent in 2019, the report projects that the shortage of jobs will continue in the future, a situation shaped by uncertainties in the trade and geopolitical context. However, the executive summary finalizes with a positive message for Cambodia: the South-East Asia region currently observes the lowest unemployment rate (3 per cent).

Original source: International Labour Organization (ILO). Acces full report

 Read real stories of Cambodian migrants who experienced work inequalities here