The ILO issued a report on "The production of electronic components for the IT industries: Changing labour force requirements in a global economy" in 2007, which was discussed in a Tripartite Meeting held in Geneva in April. While the United States and Japan remain major exporters, the major developing-country exporters (almost all Asian and including China) account for half of the world's exports of IT products; European players account for a quarter of world exports. Recently there has been a minor industrial revolution as Asian suppliers have been acquiring brand-name companies they had previously supplied, thus evolving from anonymous manufacturers into providers of electronics manufacturing services (EMS).
This has been possible thanks to brand-name holders' need to outsource more. EMS providers' weight grew in world electronics output and employment and they played a major role in the shift of output toward Asia and lower-cost locations. This growth had a fast pace in the 1990s and slowed down in the early 2000s.
The recent economic crisis lightly affected the sector, which continued to grow but at a slower pace. Telecoms, internet and hardware are penetrating the markets and the growth is expected to continue in the future.
ILO has been recently drawing its attention also to e-waste: the disposal and recycling of computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices. Every year, up to 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical equipment waste ("e-waste") are generated worldwide and global e-waste generation is growing by about 40 million tons a year (UNEP 2010).
Global Dialogue Forum on the Adaptability of Companies to Deal with Fluctuating Demands and the Incidence of Temporary and Other Forms of Employment in Electronics
Geneva, 9 - 11 December 2014