April 10, 2012 | Contribution by
ARUP BANERJI, ASLI DEMIRGUC-KUNT, AND JAIME SAAVEDRA CHANDUVI
Even before the financial crisis, the world was facing a job crisis. Jobs will remain at the center of the policy debate in the near future for five main reasons:
Youth unemployment is often 2-3 times total unemployment
- ● During the crisis, 30 to 40 million jobs were lost. Even if employment levels are improving, progress is not uniform across all countries. Plus, countries still face the need to create employment opportunities for those who have entered the labor force since the crisis began.
- ● Beyond the current economic crisis and the problem of unemployment a central development challenge is how to improve the quality of the millions of jobs that already exist. Labor income is the main mechanism through which people escape poverty, yet many workers and their families today remain poor.
- ● Across countries, a large share of workers are in informal wage employment lacking access to social security and labor regulations. Many more – 80 percent of workers in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa -- are self-employed in subsistence activities or working in small household enterprises, often without pay.
- ● Demographic patterns add urgency to the need to expand job opportunities. Young people, including those with higher education, still struggle to find jobs in many parts of the world. And as more of them enter the labor market, the situation could worsen, particularly in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.
Note: Aggregate values cannot be calculated for Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia and the Pacific due to insufficient country coverage.
Source:WDI, based on 2009 household and labor force surveys
As policymakers address this situation and look for practical solutions to expand job creation and improve job opportunities, the World Bank and its partners have created The Jobs Knowledge Platform (JKP) to respond to this need.
- ● Changes in technology and globalization add complexity to the challenge. They are affecting the nature of work, the relationship between employers and employees, and the demand for skills, particularly in middle and high income countries.
The Jobs Knowledge Platform: Facilitating Exchange of Ideas
While there are no easy solutions to the jobs challenge, it is easier than ever to share information on what works. And doing so is critical—successful interventions will require collective thinking and working outside of our own professional boundaries.
To spur such thinking, the JKP aims to mobilize a community of individuals and institutions and to facilitate the exchange of ideas about how to solve the problems that thwart the creation of good jobs or access to jobs. In addition to workshops and conferences, the JKP provides this community with several online tools:
- ● Blog: The Jobs and Development Blog provides written and video commentary by experts in relevant fields. Users can discuss these views.
- ● Wiki: The Working Wiki brings together many of the contributions from across the site. Users can add, edit, link and rate contributions to create a virtual report on jobs and job creation. These ideas will be shared with high ranking policy makers during the World Bank Annual Meetings in October 2012.
- ● Video: The Conversation offers a place where individuals, using video uploads, can raise questions, point to problems that affect them or their peers, and suggest solutions.
We believe that the JKP will open new avenues to foster employment creation and improve the earnings opportunities for workers around the world.
- ● Experiences from the Field: A searchable database of projects and programs designed to improve job opportunities. Summaries of findings, impact evaluations and multi-media presentations are available – for searching, rating and discussing. Submissions are eligible for prizes and will be featured on the JKP.
- ● Events: The JKP features a calendar of events, including conferences and calls for papers.
Join us—to influence, to learn, and to experience.
Arup Banerji is Director, Human Development Network, at the World Bank. Asli Demirguc-Kunt is Director, Development Economics, and Chief Economist of the Financial and Private Sector Development Network at the World Bank. Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi is Director, Poverty Reduction and Equity, at the World Bank.