Labour market

Pacific Island Nations take strides to enhance labour market insights

Training builds statistics capacity in order to help shape evidence-based labour market policies.

News | 04 September 2023
Participants of the training workshop in Suva, Fiji. © ILO
SUVA (ILO NEWS) - In a collaborative effort, Pacific Island nations, namely Tonga, Fiji, and the Cook Islands, have made significant strides to update their available labour force survey data, through enhancing the capacity and knowledge of their statistical bureaus and labour offices.

Set against the backdrop of the upcoming Labour Force Surveys in Cook Islands and Tonga and the Employment and Unemployment Survey (EUS) in Fiji, a "Training workshop on work and labour force statistics" was instrumental in honing the preparation, conduct, and data analysis for these critical surveys.

Held from 28 August to 1 September 2023 in Suva, Fiji, the workshop involved 16 officials from National Statistics Offices (NSOs) and the Ministry of Labour from the participating nations, marking a step towards aligning methodologies with international standards and emphasizing the role of evidence-based policy formulation.

The funding for the workshop came mostly from the Joint SDG Fund, provided through the ILO-led project on "Advancing the SDGs by Improving Livelihoods and Resilience via Economic Diversification and Digital Transformation", in addition to some funds from ILO regular budget. This crucial financial support underscores a dedicated approach to integrating labour market information collection with broader sustainable development goals, highlighting the collective commitment to leveraging data for well-informed policy interventions and fostering resilient, diversified economies.

In addition to promoting the latest international standards on statistics of work, employment, and labour underutilization, as adopted at the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS), the workshop focused on specific characteristics of vital importance to Pacific Labour Markets, such as labour mobility and the informal economy.

With informal employment accounting for a substantial portion of employment in the Pacific, the workshop engaged participants in understanding the proposed new conceptual framework for measuring employment in the informal sector and informal employment, tabled for discussions and adoption by the 21st ICLS in October 2023. Additionally, the workshop aimed to equip participants with the necessary tools to measure labour migration in line with the Guidelines concerning statistics of international labour migration—adopted at the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

The concerted effort, supported by the ILO and the Pacific Community (SPC), captured the deep commitment of Pacific Island nations to capture accurate and comprehensive labour market information. Such endeavours are critical in shaping evidence-based labour market policies, especially in small markets like those found in the Pacific Islands, where the importance of ensuring a balanced and optimized labour market demand and supply cannot be overstated.