A lack of decent jobs

In nearly all regions, the vast majority of people are not satisfied with the availability of quality jobs. The latter have been scarce, notably in the European Union, where only temporary jobs have shown an increase.


Dissatisfaction with jobs is highest in Central and Eastern Europe and CIS and sub-Saharan Africa, where it reaches over 70 per cent and 80 per cent, respectively. In the case of the Middle East and North Africa – the epicentre of recent social and political upheavals – job dissatisfaction is slightly lower, at 60 per cent. There is considerable inter-country variation within this region. Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon reported that in 2010, more than three-quarters of people were unsatisfied with the availability of good jobs.

In advanced economies, the problem is particularly acute in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, where more than 70 per cent of survey respondents reported dissatisfaction with the job market.

In regions that have fared relatively well since the onset of the crisis, such as East and South East Asia and Latin America, dissatisfaction tends to be much lower. However there are exceptions: for example, in China more than 50 per cent report dissatisfaction. Similarly, in Latin America and the Caribbean countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Uruguay, more than 60 per cent are dissatisfied with the job market.

The report’s other main findings

  • Approximately 80 million net new jobs will be needed over the next two years to re-attain pre-crisis employment rates (27 million in advanced economies and the remainder in emerging and developing countries).
  • Out of 118 countries with available data, 69 countries show an increase in the percentage of people reporting a worsening of living standards in 2010 compared to 2006.
  • Respondents in half of 99 countries surveyed say they do not have confidence in their national governments.
  • The share of profit in GDP increased in 83 per cent of the countries analysed between 2000 and 2009. Productive investment, however, stagnated globally during the same period.
  • In advanced countries, the growth in corporate profits among non-financial firms was translated into a substantial increase in dividend payouts (from 29 per cent of profits in 2000 to 36 per cent in 2009) and financial investment (from 81.2 per cent of GDP in 1995 to 132.2 per cent in 2007). The crisis slightly reversed these trends, which resumed in 2010.
  • Food price volatility doubled during the period 2006-2010 relative to the preceding five years, affecting decent work prospects in developing countries. Financial investors benefit more from price volatility than food producers, especially small ones.