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G20 Leaders' Summit - Brisbane

Global jobs challenge top of G20’s priorities

Leaders’ Summit marked by concern that economies might continue to suffer slow growth and recognition that concerted action is needed to make progress on jobs which remain at the centre of public concern.

News | 16 November 2014
BRISBANE (ILO News) – As the G20 Summit in Brisbane draws to a close, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said that working women and men and ILO constituents will be pleased that raising global growth to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world remains the G20’s highest priority.

The goal to lift G20 GDP by two per cent by 2018 is an important commitment. “If achieved it should stop the global jobs gap widening. But we need growth that creates more jobs to repair the damage caused by the financial and economic crisis”, said Ryder.

G20 Leaders' Summit 2014: Focus on inclusive growth and jobs

The G20 had agreed in February that each member country would develop national growth strategies that together aimed to lift their combined GDP by two percentage points above the trend forecast by the IMF by 2018. Since then growth in 2014 weakened for the G20 as a whole. But leaders said they stood ready to use all policy options to underpin confidence and recovery.

There was also an increased recognition that the immediate issue is a shortfall in aggregate global demand but it is important to raise potential growth, notably through infrastructure investment. “Getting the balance right between measures to lift both consumption and investment is vital”, said the ILO head.

In national Employment Plans developed by G20 Labour and Employment Ministers, particularly the largest economies -- USA, China, Germany, and Japan – said that they would aim to raise wages for the lowest paid. “This could provide a major boost to household incomes in 2015; encourage business to invest in increased production capacity and hire more workers, especially first time job- seekers; begin to halt, and reverse, the disturbing rise in inequality, and as such make a major contribution to realizing the G20’s two per cent ambition,” said Ryder.

We need growth that creates more jobs to repair the damage caused by the financial and economic crisis."
Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
Another key commitment is to reduce the gap in participation rates between men and women by 25 per cent by 2025, taking into account national circumstances. “Delivering the 25 by 25 target would be a huge breakthrough in the struggle to end gender discrimination in employment”, said Ryder. “It will not be easy to get there. Paid maternity leave, a massive investment in child and elder care, strengthened anti-discrimination measures and of course, equal pay, are the policies needed to create quality jobs for the 100 million more women the G20 wants to see in work 10 years from now.”

Ryder welcomed the separate G20 statement on Ebola saying, “I am very pleased that Leaders not only saluted the courage of the women and men doing vital healthcare and relief work in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere but also pledged to promote safe conditions and training for these essential frontline workers.”

Looking ahead to 2015, the Summit adopted an accompanying Brisbane Plan of Action which includes a strong section on lifting employment and participation. “Important progress was made this year on integrating economic and employment policies. The ILO has been arguing that it is vital that the G20 promotes inclusive growth by generating more and better jobs and vice versa,” said Ryder. “This key relationship has now been built into the G20 machinery with the establishment of an Employment Working Group and the request to Employment and Labour Ministers to report to Leaders on follow-up to the Employment Plans.”

While in Brisbane the ILO Director-General met Leaders of business and labour (the B20 and L20). “Social dialogue, nationally and at the G20 level, is essential to good policy design and effective follow through on commitments,” said Ryder. “The B20-L20 joint letter to the Prime Minister setting out their common priorities is a very important building block for the Turkish Presidency next year,” he added.