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Steady, Salaried Work on Decline

  • Lisa Schlein

FILE- Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization.

FILE- Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization.

The International Labor Organization warns a decrease in traditional forms of labor is leading to increased poverty because of widespread insecurity in the global jobs market. In this year’s World Employment and Social Outlook 2015 report, the ILO examines “The Changing Nature of Jobs.”

The so-called company man who could rely on a steady job, salary and a pension at the end of his work life is an endangered species. New data shows fewer than one in four workers today is employed in this stable traditional form of labor.

The International Labor Organization’s report analyzed employment trends in countries covering 84 percent of the global workforce. It finds three quarters of workers are employed on temporary or short-term contracts, in informal jobs or in unpaid family jobs.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder says more than 60 percent of all workers, most of them in the developing world, lack any kind of employment contract. He adds even among those workers, who have a wage and salary, less than half have permanent work contracts.

“One consequence of this type of transformation in the employment relationship is that it is contributing to the growing divergence between labor incomes and productivity, with productivity growing faster than wages in much of the world ... which we think has been an important factor in the current employment crisis. And, our report estimates that the loss in global demand as a consequence of employment trends coming from the crisis stands at ...$3.7 trillion," said Ryder.

Latest ILO estimates put the number of unemployed workers globally at 201 million, 30 million more than before the 2008 global economic crisis struck.

Ryder says the shift from the traditional employment relationship to non-permanent forms of employment is leading to growing unemployment and a rise in inequality and poverty rates in many countries.

“Temporary and informal workers, part-timers, unpaid family workers, many of them women, are disproportionately affected by poverty and by social exclusion. And, by-in-large, the non-standard forms of employment go with reduced, with lower pay and lesser coverage of social protection," he said.

Ryder adds data from a majority of countries find part-time jobs outpaced gains in full-time work between 2009 and 2013.

The report says the number of wage and salaried jobs continues to grow worldwide, but with wide variations across regions.

For example, it says in the developed economies and in Central and South-Eastern Europe, around eight in 10 workers are employees. On the other hand, it says that figure is closer to two in 10 in South Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa.