A tremendous challenge: More than 61 per cent of the world’s employed population make their living in the informal economy

Article | 21 May 2018
Geneva - The publication entitled “Women and men in the informal economy. A statistical picture” was launched at the ILO in Geneva on 1 May on International Workers Day. The three authors are, from left to right: Juan Chacaltana (Employment Department), Florence Bonnet (Workquality Department) and Vicky Leung (Employment Department).

The three technical departments that contributed to the report were represented on the podium: WORKQUALIYT/INWORK through Philippe Marcadent (Branch Chief INWORK and Lead for the Outcome on Formalization of the Informal Economy), Statistics (Rafael Diez de Medina, Director) and Employment (Sangheon Lee, Director).

During her presentation, Florence Bonnet highlighted the magnitude of the challenge, with the majority of working women and men finding themselves working in the informal economy, usually with less protection, harsher working conditions, little representation and no job security. Philippe Marcadent stressed that “as long as we have people in the informal economy we should not only work on their formalization and on the creation of more formal jobs, but we also need to try to improve their situation”. Sangheon Lee pointed to the necessity of linking structural transformation processes to policy efforts to formalize economies, saying “Only with this in mind can we have a real impact with targeted policies fostering the formalization process and through this having a real impact on poverty reduction”. Commenting from a statistical perspective, Rafael Diez de Medina said, “we have made strong progress in terms of measuring informality which is the essential basis for analysing not only the size of and trends in the informal economy, but also to analyse drivers of informality and the impact of measures taken to formalize economies”.

This report represents a key step towards a better understanding of the challenge, formulation of policies and support for ILO constituents in their attempt to implement the 2015 ILO Recommendation 204 on Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy.

For additional information please check out the press release.