The G-20 and Job Creation

When the financial and economic crisis spread across the globe in 2008, the leaders of the G20 countries came together to devise a plan to further strengthen international cooperation. From that time the G20 leaders have convened Summits in Washington D.C. in 2008, in London and Pittsburgh in 2009, in Toronto and Seoul in 2010, in Cannes in 2011 and in Los Cabos in 2012. In carrying out its work, the G20 draws on the technical expertise of international organizations, chiefly the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the ILO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations (UN) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB).


ILO Director General, Guy Ryder, joined labor ministers from across the G20 for the annual summit held in Melbourne, Australia from 10-11 September 2014. The discussion addressed practical ways to create more jobs, boost participation and prevent unemployment from becoming structural across the G20. They also reflected on the high cost to business and national economies caused by poor workplace health and safety. Top on their agenda was female labor force participation rates and high youth unemployment. The ministers released a declaration outlining their commitments to address the labor, employment and social challenges faced nationally and globally. Each G20 member is expected to propose national Employment Plans that set out the actions they will take to address their employment challenges that will then be put forward to G20 leaders at the Leaders’ Summit to be held on 15-16 November 2014 in Brisbane.


At the G20 summit, that took place on September 5-6 in St. Petersburg, Russia, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder welcomed the recognition by G20 Leaders that more must be done to reduce unemployment, which is hitting record levels in many G20 countries, and to tackle the underemployment that is slowing poverty reduction in many developing and emerging economies.

In their final communiqué the G20 said that the group’s most urgent need is “to increase the momentum of the global recovery, generate higher growth and better jobs, while strengthening the foundations for long-term growth and avoiding policies that could cause the recovery to falter or promote growth at other countries’ expense.”

The G20 heads endorsed their ministers’ of Labor recommendations at the Saint Petersburg summit and called upon the two groups of Ministers (Labor and Finance) “to work together to deliver on the implementation of this commitment with the support of the ILO, the OECD and the World Bank Group to identify effective measures for more inclusive labor markets.”

On July 18-19, 2013, the G20 Labor Ministers met in Moscow to discuss the global labor market situation and employment challenges faced by the G20 countries, as well as measures necessary for ensuring strong, sustainable, and balanced growth. The Ministers adopted the final G20 Labor Ministers' Declaration, which identifies ways to support inclusive economic growth through job creation, labor market activation, and monitoring of progress made by countries in implementing their commitments to increase employment.


The G20 Labor Ministerial Meeting took place in Guadalajara, Mexico from 17-18 May 2012. The ministers agreed to create quality employment and decent work, which they prioritized in domestic and international policies aiming to a sustainable and balanced global economic growth. Inclusive green growth serves as a quality employment generator, in the context of sustainable development. The ministers also agreed to strengthen their commitment to youth by promoting the improvement of employability, equal opportunities, entrepreneurship and job creation for youth. In preparation to the ministerial meeting, the ILO, in collaboration with the OECD, produced two documents entitled “Short-term labor market outlook and key challenges in G20 countries” and “Sustainable development, green growth and quality employment”. The ILO and OECD expressed concern that if employment continues to grow at the current rate of 1.5 per cent, it will be impossible to close the approximately 21 million jobs gap that has accumulated across the G20 since the onset of the crisis in 2008.

The G20 Leaders Summit took place in Los Cabos, Mexico, from June 18-19, 2012. The ILO Director General Juan Somavia presented a joint report along with the heads of the OECD, IMF and World Bank on 'Boosting Jobs and Living Standards in G20 countries'


The ILO provided substantive contributions to the G20 in 2011, in collaboration with the OECD, in preparation of the second meeting of the G20 Employment and Labor Ministers which took place in Paris on 26-27 September 2011. The meeting assessed the evolving employment situation in the context of the global financial crisis.

At the Cannes summit held on 3-4 November 2011, the G20 Leaders put a strong emphasis on growth and jobs within the G20 “Framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth”. It established a Task Force on Employment that will initially concentrate on youth employment, which today is two to three times higher than adults’ unemployment. The ILO and OECD expressed concern over the seriousness of the jobs crisis with 200 million people out of work worldwide, close to the peak recorded at the depth of the Great Recession (Joint Statement for G20 Labor Ministerial by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría)


The ILO and the ILO Washington office provided extensive technical support to the meeting of G20 Ministers of Employment and Labor convened by the US Secretary of Labor in Washington, D.C. in April 2010. The ILO produced a series of background reports on the evolving employment and social protection situation in the context of the global financial crisis. "Accelerating a job-rich recovery in G20 countries: Building on experience" provides an assessment of the impact of the policy measures taken across G20 countries and identifies the policy challenges for a sustained jobs recovery. The recommendations of the Ministers, based on ILO technical inputs, were welcomed by the G20 Toronto Summit.

The ILO cooperated with other organizations in the preparation of technical support to the 2010 summits. The ILO worked with the IMF within the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth. The ILO (with inputs from other organizations) developed a training strategy which was welcomed by G20 Leaders in Toronto and extended by the Seoul Summit to developing countries. The ILO worked together with the WTO, World Bank and OECD to produce a report on trade and employment for the G20 Seoul Summit. The central message of the report is that countries can gain by designing trade policies together with employment policies both to expand trade and to cushion adjustments induced by trade. ILO contributions have established how employment policies and expanded social protection coverage in all G20 countries could substantially contribute to rebalancing the global economy.


The ILO contributed a technical report to the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh (September 2009) providing a first analysis of the employment and social impact of the extraordinary fiscal stimulus measures taken by governments. The ILO estimates were recognized by the IMF and by the media. The G20 Summit in Pittsburgh gave a strong mandate of “Putting quality jobs at the heart of the recovery” spanning job creation, social protection, training, decent work and ILO fundamental principles and rights at work. The ILO has since based its contributions to the G20 on that agenda.