UN report: half a billion people struggle to find adequate paid work
Study also shows global unemployment due to rise for the first time in a decade
Nearly half a billion people around the world are struggling to find adequate paid work, trapping individuals in poverty and fuelling heightened levels of inequality, according to a UN report.
In a study published as world leaders fly into the Swiss ski resort of Davos to voice concerns over inequality and the climate crisis, the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) said more than 473 million people around the world lacked the employment opportunities to meet their needs.
In addition, the UN agency said global unemployment was due to rise for the first time in almost a decade in 2020, as weaker levels of economic growth around the world lead to the number of people out of work rising by about 2.5 million to stand at more than 190 million.
The report comes after the UN said last week that trade tensions risked dragging down global growth this year, in a development that would derail international efforts to tackle poverty in low-income countries and distract from the task of decarbonising the world economy.
Out of a working-age population of 5.7 billion people around the world, the ILO found as many as 165 million people were employed but unable to find work with an adequate amount of paid hours to meet their needs. It also found a further 119 million had either given up actively searching for work or lacked access to the jobs market because of their personal situations. Alongside those officially classified as unemployed, about 473 million people across the planet are affected.
Calling for urgent efforts to ensure that all types of paid work are also of decent quality, Guy Ryder, the director general of the ILO, said: “For millions of ordinary people, it’s increasingly difficult to build better lives through work.
“Persisting and substantial work-related inequalities and exclusion are preventing them from finding decent work and better futures. That’s an extremely serious finding that has profound and worrying implications for social cohesion.”
The ILO said countries around the world were missing out on the potential economic and social benefits of a huge pool of human talent.
In a stark assessment of the risks from underemployment, it said the lack of productive, well-paid jobs meant more than 630 million workers worldwide lived in extreme or moderate poverty on incomes of less than $3.20 (£2.46) a day. Despite a gradual trend to reduce global poverty levels, it said that these people lacked adequate income to escape destitution.