Skills for growth: human capital composition and economic performance
Back to the future of work, policy discussion at the Forum on the Future of Work and Labour Ministerial, 14 and 15 January 2016.
The digital revolution, globalisation and rapid population ageing are changing profoundly the types of jobs needed and the way we work, and may lead to even more dramatic changes over the coming decades. Will the many unemployed ever find a job again with the skills they have today in new world of work? Where are new jobs being created and what do they look like?
Colombia has made major economic and social advances in recent years. The combination of strong economic growth and policies targeted at the most vulnerable groups improved considerably the living standards of the Colombian population. Today, the country enjoys higher employment and labour force participation rates than the average of OECD countries and unemployment is steadily declining. Nevertheless, despite these positive trends, deep structural problems remain. Labour informality is widespread, the rate of self-employment is high and many employees have non-regular contracts. Income inequality is higher than in any OECD country and redistribution through taxes and benefits is almost negligible. In addition, half a century of internal conflict and violence has displaced a significant part of the population, and many of them are living in extreme poverty. Despite considerable progress, violence continues to be a challenge and also affects trade union members and leaders. The Colombian Government has undertaken important reforms in recent years to address these labour market and social challenges, and the efforts are gradually paying off. However, further progress is needed to enhance the quality of jobs and well-being for all. The main trust of this report is to support the Colombian Government in tackling labour market duality, generate trust between the social partners, develop inclusive and active social policies, and get the most out of international migration.
On 15 January 2016 Ministers from over 40 countries will gather at the OECD Headquarters in Paris, France, for the OECD Employment and Labour Ministerial Meeting. The Ministerial meeting will take place under the chairmanship of Ireland, with Chile, France and Germany as Vice-Chairs.
Back-to-back with the 2016 OECD Labour Ministerial meeting, a Policy Forum on the Future of work will take place to discuss how digitisation is shaping the world of work and the implications for skills and labour market policy.
Job displacement (involuntary job loss due to firm closure or downsizing) affects many workers over their lifetime. Displaced workers may face long periods of unemployment and, even when they find new jobs, tend to be paid less and have fewer benefits than in their prior jobs. Helping them get back into good jobs quickly should be a key goal of labour market policy. This report is the fourth in a series of reports looking at how this challenge is being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It shows that Sweden has been relatively successful in minimising the adverse effects of displaced workers, manily due to the longstanding tradition of collaboration between the social partners to share responsibility for restructuring by creating special arrangements and practices that provide help to workers much faster that in other OECD countries. Despite this positive institutional framework, there is room to improve policies targeted to displaced workers as remarkable inequalities still exist in both the Swedish labour market and in the way workers are treated.
The OECD’s most recent ‘Investing in Youth’ country reviews identify three broad streams of solutions to provide disadvantaged youth with the skills they need and thus reduce the share of youth outside of education or employment.
Tackling mental ill-health of the working-age population is a key issue for labour market and social policies in OECD countries. OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in keeping people with mental ill-health in employment or bringing those outside of the labour market back to it, and in preventing mental illness. This report on Australia is the ninth and last in a series of reports looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It concludes that policy thinking in Australia shows well-advanced awareness both of the costs of mental illness for society as a whole and of the health benefits of employment. However, challenges remain in: making employment issues a concern of the health care services; helping young people succees in their future working lives; making the workplace a safe, supportive psychosocial environment; and better designing and targeting employment services for jobseekers with mental ill-health.
Being able to directly measure all the above aspects would be extremely useful but economists and analysts usually face severe data limitations (e.g. small sample size, data comparability, measurement error etc.) and are, in many instances, forced to use second-best proxies to describe skills and build indicators.