2013 World Development Report on Jobs

World Bank 

The World Development Report 2013: Jobs stresses the role of strong private sector led growth in creating jobs and outlines how jobs that do the most for development can spur a virtuous cycle. The report finds that poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empower women to invest more in their children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and as less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs foster diversity and provide alternatives to conflict.

Today, jobs are a critical concern across the globe—for policy makers, the business community, and the billions of men and women striving to provide for their families.
As the world struggles to emerge from the global crisis, some 200 million people—including 75 million under the age of 25—are unemployed. Many millions more, most of them women, find themselves shut out of the labor force altogether. Looking forward, over the next 15 years an additional 600 million new jobs will be needed to absorb burgeoning working-age populations, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, almost half of all workers in developing countries are engaged in small-scale farming or self-employment, jobs that typically do not come with a steady paycheck and benefits. The problem for most poor people in these countries is not the lack of a job or too few hours of work; many hold more than one job and work long hours. Yet, too often, they are not earning enough to secure a better future for themselves and their children, and at times they are working in unsafe conditions and without the protection of their basic rights.
Jobs are instrumental to achieving economic and social development. Beyond their critical importance for individual well-being, they lie at the heart of many broader societal objectives, such as poverty reduction, economy-wide productivity growth, and social cohesion. The development payoffs from jobs include acquiring skills, empowering women, and stabilizing post-conflict societies. Jobs that contribute to these broader goals are valuable not only for those who hold them but for society as a whole: they are good jobs for development.
The World Development Report 2013 takes the centrality of jobs in the development process as its starting point and challenges and re-frames how we think about work. Adopting a cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach, the Report looks at why some jobs do more for development than others. The Report finds that the jobs with the greatest development payoffs are those that make cities function better, connect the economy to global markets, protect the environment, foster trust and civic engagement, or reduce poverty. Critically, these jobs are not only found in the formal sector; depending on the country context, informal jobs can also be transformational.
Building on this framework, the Report tackles some of the most pressing questions policymakers are asking right now: Should countries design their development strategies around growth or focus on jobs? Are there situations where the focus should be on protecting jobs as opposed to protecting workers? Which needs to come first in the development process- creating jobs or building skills?
The private sector is the key engine of job creation, accounting for 90 percent of all jobs in the developing world. But governments play a vital role by ensuring that the conditions are in place for strong private-sector led growth, and by alleviating the constraints that hinder the private sector from creating good jobs for development.
The Report advances a three-stage approach to help governments meet these objectives. First, policy fundamentals—including macroeconomic stability, an enabling business environment, investments in human capital, and the rule of law—are essential for both growth and job creation. Second, well-designed labor policies can help ensure that growth translates into employment opportunities, but they need to be complemented by a broader approach to job creation that looks beyond the labor market. Third, governments should strategically identify which jobs would do the most for development given their specific country context, and remove or offset the obstacles that prevent the private sector from creating more of those jobs.
In today’s global economy, the world of work is rapidly evolving. Demographic shifts, technological progress, and the lasting effects of the international financial crisis are reshaping the employment landscape in countries around the world. Countries that successfully adapt to these changes and meet their jobs challenges can achieve dramatic gains in living standards, productivity growth, and more cohesive societies. Those that do not will miss out on the transformational effects of economic and social development.
The World Development Report 2013 is an important contribution to our collective understanding of the role of jobs in development. Its insights will provide valuable guidance for the World Bank Group as we collaborate with partners and clients to advance their jobs agendas. Working together, we can foster job creation and maximize the development impact of jobs.


Publication date: 
1 Nov, 2012