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10 things to know about the global labour force

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Amina Khan

Briefing/policy paper

Creating more and better jobs is frequently identified as a top priority in global development, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are no exception.

Nearly six million participants of the MY World Survey, a UN survey which influenced and informed the SDGs, identified 'better job opportunities' as key for their and their families' futures. As a result, jobs have found their space in SDG8: 'Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all', and are referenced in several other goals.

10 things to know about the global labour force examines the number of people inside and outside the global labour force, illustrating who they are, where they are and the scale of the global jobs challenge, drawing attention to the 2 billion people of working age classified as outside the labour force, many of whom want to work. Surprisingly, there has been little focus on this group. Less surprisingly, about two-thirds are women, and a very high share of them are in the Asia-Pacific region. Their need for jobs will add significantly to the challenges of job creation and of meeting the SDGs.

5.49 billion people in the world are of working age
Image credit:ODI
Nearly 800 million workers are poor
Image credit:ODI
2 billion people of working age are outside the global labour force
Image credit:ODI
By 2021, only 180 million new jobs are projected to be created
Image credit:ODI
Amina Khan