G20 Leaders' Summit - Brisbane

No sustainable recovery without more and better jobs

With global economic growth forecasts down and weak prospects for job creation, ILO Director-General says both weak global demand and supply constraints need to be tackled.

News | 16 November 2014
BRISBANE (ILO News) – As the G20 summit enters its second day, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder urged G20 leaders to focus on policies that drive growth through more and better jobs.

“We need policies that both boost global demand and address supply constraints, for example, skills and vocational training, support to small and medium entreprises, investment in infrastructure”, said Ryder. “Unless we have not only growth, but growth that actually creates more and better jobs and higher household incomes, we could see more downward revisions of growth forecasts.”

The ILO Chief yesterday participated in the summit’s opening session which focused on strengthening growth and job creation.

A G20 jobs gap of about 54 million has opened up since 2007 and unless there is a marked improvement in current growth trends, the gap could widen further.

Ryder said that the ILO welcomes the G20 ambition to lift total G20 GDP by 2 per cent by 2018 but pointed out that even if this target is achieved it may do no more than stop the jobs gap from widening further and will hardly dent the existing jobless figures.

But this fragile situation can be tackled with a G20 strategy that puts job creation and measures to improve the quality of employment at the centre of recovery efforts. A major boost to infrastructure investment coupled with well-designed employment, wage and social protection policies can reverse the current self-reinforcing cycle of slow growth, weak job creation, low wage growth and low investment.

Several G20 national growth strategies and employment plans have policies that include minimum wages, collective bargaining and social protection. “These are positive steps and if the G20 moves together with such initiatives they could boost global demand and rekindle growth”, said Ryder.

There are promising signs, with the largest G20 economies – US, China, Japan and Germany- committed to increasing minimum or overall wages. At the same time, several emerging economies including China, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina are expanding and strengthening social protection systems which will lift household spending by people on lower incomes. “The positive spill-overs are likely to be impressive”, said the ILO chief.

Reducing the gap between women and men in participation in the workforce by 25% by the year 2025 is an ambitious but achievable goal for most G20 countries and would contribute both to reducing gender discrimination and faster growth.

“We need the right mix of policies to make the G20 work for people, and social dialogue – that is, the effective cooperation between business, labour and government – is key to putting the G20 onto the path of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth which the global economy so desperately needs”, concluded Ryder.