Labour market conditions are generally improving in OECD countries. However, employment remains below its pre-crisis level in many countries. Employment is still growing too slowly in the OECD area to close the jobs gap induced by the crisis any time soon.
Low-skilled workers have less chance of getting a job
Across all age-groups, educational attainment and skills have a large impact on the likelihood of being employed. Employment rates are low for people with less than upper secondary education, but with large variations across countries.
Job security is weak for many workers
Already prior to the crisis, there were long-standing concerns about high and possibly increasing numbers of workers in jobs offering little employment security or low hours. Much of the concern about precarious forms of employment relates to the considerable and rising use of fixed-term contracts by European employers. A temporary job can be a stepping stone to a permanent job, but a considerable number of workers have difficulty making this transition (see data about the probability of moving from temporary to permanent job).
Underemployment is also on the rise
The jobs mix has shifted towards more part-time work. The share of workers who are employed part time has risen from 18.6% immediately before the crisis to 20.6% currently. Most of the increase in part-time has been involuntary and reflects a shortage of opportunities for full-time employment.
Weak real wage growth remains a concern
Real wage growth has slowed since the crisis, particularly in the euro area. Wage restraint helped to limit employment losses during the recession and to encourage a rebound in employment during the recovery. However, slower wage growth – including real declines in some instances – has also reduced the incomes of many households further contributing to economic hardship.
Minimum wages are increasingly used to bolster earnings at the bottom of the jobs ladder
Most OECD countries have a statutory minimum wage, and their number is increasing. Statutory minimum wage levels have risen relative to median wages during the recovery in many OECD countries, and some have introduced one where it had not previously existed (e.g. Germany). However, a few countries allowed their minimum wage to decline as a crisis-related measure, because they thought that labour costs needed to be cut to limit job losses.