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ILO: More than half of employed Bangladeshis in vulnerable jobs

  • Published at 10:32 pm January 23rd, 2018
  • Last updated at 01:28 am January 24th, 2018
ILO: More than half of employed Bangladeshis in vulnerable jobs
In 2017, 57.45% of the people working in Bangladesh were in vulnerable jobs, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said. Vulnerable employment is defined as jobs that are unlikely to have formal work arrangements, and therefore more likely to lack decent working conditions, adequate social security and representation. According to ILO's flagship report titled “World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2018,” of the 63.7 million total employed in Bangladesh in the last year, 36.6 million were in these sorts of jobs. Poor quality jobs and vulnerable employment affects more than 900 million men and women in the Asia-Pacific, the report said. Despite sustained job growth, decent work deficits and informality pose challenges to prospects of further reduction in working poverty in Asia and the Pacific. A large part of the jobs created in the region remain of poor quality. As per the latest data, the number of vulnerable employment was 1,391.3 million in 2017, which is expected to increase to 1,409 million in 2018. Projections indicate that 72% of workers in Southern Asia, 46% in South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific, and 31% in Eastern Asia will be in vulnerable employment by 2019, showing very little change from 2017. “The high and persistent incidence of vulnerable employment in the region largely reflects the fact that structural transformation processes, whereby capital and workers transfer from low to higher value-added sectors, are lagging behind in large parts of the region, with the exception of Eastern Asia,” said ILO economist Stefan Kühn, lead author of the report. “Even though global unemployment has stabilized, decent work deficits remain widespread: the global economy is still not creating enough jobs. Additional efforts need to be put in place to improve the quality of work for jobholders and to ensure that the gains of growth are shared equitably,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.

Most jobs in Bangladesh informal

About a third of Bangladesh's population is involved in informal jobs, the ILO report says. Out of the country's 637 million strong labor force, only a small portion are in formal sectors. The high incidence of informality continues to undermine the prospects of further reducing working poverty, especially in South and South-Eastern Asia. Indeed, informality affects around 90% of all workers in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal, the report said. Such a high incidence of informality is only partially driven by the high shares of employment in agriculture. In fact, informality in these countries also remains pervasive in the non-agriculture sectors, such as construction, wholesale and retail trade, and accommodation and food service industries, it said. As per the report data, unemployment rate in Bangladesh was 4.4% in 2017, which will remain same in the current year. As per the report, in 2017 the global unemployed population was 192.7 million, which is expected to came down to 192.3 million.

Unemployment to remain low in Asia-Pacific

As Asia-Pacific continues to create jobs at a very fast rate, unemployment in the region is expected to remain low by international standards, at around 4.2% in 2018, said the report. The report also projected that the number of employed persons in the region will grow by some 23 million or 1.2% between 2017 and 2019. Southern Asia, driven by fast labour force growth, is expected to account for almost 90% of the regional employment growth.

Working poverty on downward trend

The the incidence of working poverty in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to continue its downward trend for the next couple of years. As of 2017, 23.4% of the region's working population was in extreme or moderate poverty, living on an income of below US$3.10 per day, down from over 44% in 2007. Despite remarkable progresses, working poverty remains high in some parts of the region, notably in Southern Asia. Over 41% of workers in this region are estimated to be in either extreme or moderate poverty in 2017, accounting for more than two thirds of all working poor in the Asia-Pacific.

Global trends

As the global economy recovers but with a growing labour force, global unemployment in 2018 is projected to remain at a similar level to the rate in 2017. The global unemployment rate has been stabilizing after a rise in 2016. It reached an estimated 5.6% in 2017, with the total number of unemployed exceeding 192 million persons, the report says. The unemployment rate is projected to fall by an additional 0.2 percentage points in 2018 to reach 5.5 per cent, a rate below pre-crisis levels, it added.