Global unemployment is forecast to rise to 5.8% in 2017, representing 201 million people out of work – the majority of whom are young people. High youth unemployment is a major problem in many developing economies, with the growth of the workforce outstripping job creation. Technological development and automation are often cited as negative forces on employment opportunities for youth. 600 million new jobs will need to be created by 2030 to keep pace with the growth of the working age population. The creation of quality jobs will remain a significant challenge for almost all countries. Having a job does not guarantee an escape from poverty. The ILO finds that vulnerable employment represents 42% of total employment: one in two workers in emerging countries and four in five in developing economies. According to the ILO, 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally – over 50% of whom are in Asia Pacific.
Opportunities & Challenges
Key challenges to deliver Goal 8 include:
Skills for the jobs of the future: Young people are disproportionately engaged in low-quality jobs with fewer opportunities for permanent employment. The education system remains out of step with the needs of rapidly changing workplaces. As low-skilled jobs are lost to automation, it will be critical that young people are equipped with the necessary skills to secure quality work.
Financial access: Globally, two billion people are “unbanked” and lack access to formal financial services. When low-income workers and poor families gain access to basic financial services (e.g. savings, credit), they take the first step towards greater security. Lack of credit history can be a barrier, especially for those who seek to start or expand a business.
Forced labor and modern slavery: Mechanisms to identify child and forced labor throughout global supply chains need to be put in place. Sharing and tracking information will be critical to understand and address the scope, size and nature of modern slavery.
Insufficient labor demands: The job landscape of 2030 will likely look vastly different to today, as companies and industries face profound evolution or disruption through digital technology. Two-thirds of children now entering primary school will work in jobs that don’t exist today. Programmers and data scientists will be in high demand, and working environments will evolve with the rise of the gig economy and flexible working patterns. While organizations such as WEF and Deloitte have highlighted the job creation potential in this future, technology could result in significant job losses. McKinsey estimates that 45% of activities individuals are paid to perform today can be automated by adapting existing technologies. Although technology could create job opportunities for highly skilled workers, those losing their jobs as a result of automation are unlikely to have the skills required for these jobs.
Financial access is a key way in which technology will transform everyday living.Darshan Mundada, Sterlite Technologies
Governments and corporations should train the workforce with the skills to work alongside new technologies and encourage people to pursue long-term careers that are best filled by humans, not machines.Diya Soubra, Arm
Technology in action
Digital technology will play a key role in addressing these challenges:
Data Analytics can be key in the fight against slavery and trafficking. In the UK alone, the Home Office estimates the economic costs of modern slavery to be £890 million per year. Precise and secure data are essential to address the problem. Project Protect is a coalition of banks aiming to track human trafficking through financial flows, with a growing focus on cryptocurrencies.
Mobile money helps reach the unbanked in rural areas where citizens rely on companies to act as a go-between for payments. Blockchain and bitcoin can accelerate financial access in the world's most financially excluded regions by enabling direct transfers, reducing fees, speeding up transactions and increasing security. Diversifying and optimizing payments for all types of agriculture can enable farmers to more easily sell goods.Get Involved