Working Paper No. 2 - Measuring Decent Work with Statistical Indicators

The central premise of this paper is that it is important for the ILO to settle on a basic core set of decent work indicators and a plan of action for statistical activities. The Office should also seriously consider developing a complementary set of indicators to measure supporting national and international legal frameworks and conventions for the eleven major aspects of decent work identified in this paper.

This paper aims to suggest how to measure ‘decent work’, a concept introduced by the Director General Juan Somavia of the International Labour Organization. Decent work is described as the "opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity." However, the problem lies in how to measure decent work using a proper set of statistical indicators that can identify progress, its relation to poverty, and other developmental concerns in developing countries that aid in international comparability. Using a realistic analysis approach, which rejects and suggests possible indicators, the paper proposes a core set of recommendations to achieve more appropriate decent work indicators with worldwide feasibility in mind. It urges the entire ILO to collaborate with national statistical services and other constituents to make these a reality and ultimately help make the goal of decent work more viable through a set of meaningful indicators.