Remarks by Angel Gurría
4 December 2018 - Hôtel du Chatelet, Paris, France
(As prepared for delivery)
Mesdames et Messieurs les Ministres, Chers Collègues,
C'est un plaisir de vous souhaiter la bienvenue à ce forum politique pour le lancement de la nouvelle Stratégie pour l'emploi de l'OCDE. Je voudrais d’abord remercier la ministre Muriel Pénicaud et le ministère du Travail d’avoir accepté d’organiser avec nous cet événement et de nous accueillir dans l’hôtel historique du Châtelet.
The new Jobs Strategy builds on the original 1994 and reassessed 2006 Strategies. Its broader framework and its policy recommendations reflect the significant changes in OECD labour markets over recent decades, especially since the 2008 crisis.
As documented in this year’s Employment Outlook, unemployment has returned to pre-crisis levels in most OECD countries, but job quality and inclusiveness have lagged behind. Real wage growth in OECD countries has nearly halved from 2.2% prior to the crisis to 1.2% in recent years . There has also been a rise in involuntary low-pay part-time employment in a number of OECD countries, and we still have a gap of 25% in employment rates between disadvantaged groups and prime-age men.
Moreover, at the time of the previous Jobs Strategy, many of the technological changes now shaping the world of work were in their early stages. Since then, our economies and labour markets have been undergoing transformative change, and this is bound to continue. Our most recent analysis suggests that nearly half of all jobs are either at high risk of automation or likely to see significant changes.
It is in this context that, at our 2016 Labour and Employment Ministerial, our Ministers gave us the mandate to review and update the Jobs Strategy.
Since then we have worked closely with the Ministries of Labour and Economy of OECD countries. In June 2017, we held a high-level forum hosted by the German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, where Ministers discussed the new framework. The Strategy was then presented and welcomed at this year’s OECD Ministerial Council Meeting.
Today, we are excited to officially launch the new Jobs Strategy, including the full body of evidence supporting the recommendations.
This new Jobs Strategy makes job quality and inclusiveness central priorities alongside job quantity. It emphasises the importance of resilience and adaptability for good labour market performance; it recognises that flexibility-enhancing policies in product and labour markets are necessary but not sufficient; and it acknowledges that policies and institutions that protect workers, foster inclusiveness and allow workers and firms to harness the opportunities of technology are vital to promote well-being for all. With its emphasis on forward-looking education and skills policies, it dovetails with both the OECD’s Policy Framework for Inclusive Growth, launched earlier this year, and our Going Digital project, for which the final report will be released in early 2019.
Today also marks the start of the implementation phase, as we work with governments to provide them with policy recommendations tailored to their countries’ challenges.
We are glad that many Ministers are here today. Your presence not only underlines your commitment to the Strategy, but also highlights its importance for shaping national policy debates on how to promote more jobs, better jobs and more inclusive labour markets. We are committed to supporting you as these debates yield new reforms. We are already working with several countries on including a Jobs Strategy implementation chapter in their OECD Economic Surveys.
Madame la Ministre,
En ce contexte, je voudrais de nouveau vous remercier pour votre décision de vous engager avec nous dans ce processus. Dans la première partie de 2019, la France sera le premier pays à avoir un tel chapitre dans son Étude économique. Nous nous réjouissons de poursuivre notre proche collaboration avec la France dans ce domaine.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have a busy, and, I hope, fruitful morning ahead of us, in which ministers, experts and stakeholders will have a chance to give their perspectives on the new Jobs Strategy.