ILO laments plights of educated under-employed workers
According to the ninth edition of ILO’s Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM), educational level of the labour force is improving worldwide but access to a higher education is not leading to lower unemployment at the global level.
The latest edition of the KILM, which is part of the broader ILO statistical database (ILOSTAT), all but two of 64 countries with available data have registered an increase in the share of the labour force with a tertiary education over the past 15 years. The biggest increases were seen in Canada, Luxembourg and Russia.
At the same time, there has been a drop in the share of labour market participants with only a primary-level education or less.
Responding to the findings, head of the ILO’s Data Production and Analysis Unit in the ILO Department of Statistics, Steven Kapsos said: “This is a positive development for these individuals, as more educated workers tend to benefit from higher earnings and better working conditions. But it is also a positive development at the national and global levels, as there is a strong correlation between educational levels of the workforce and national levels of labour productivity.”
However, ILO was quick to add that this does not mean that workers with tertiary-level education automatically have a better chance of finding a job. While they are less likely to be unemployed in most high-income economies, tertiary graduates in low- and lower-middle-income economies are actually more likely to be among the unemployed than workers with lower educational levels.
Rosina Gammarano, who is of the ILO Department of Statistics, said: “This reflects a mismatch between skilled persons and the number of available jobs matching their competencies and expectations, and unless addressed might work to put a limit on economic growth and development.”
The KILM also provides data on the share of youth who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), one of the proposed indicators that will be used for monitoring the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda under its goal 8 and its particular target onto monitor Goal 8 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and in particular, a targeted reduction in NEETs.
The KILM finds that the countries where the number of NEETs has increased in recent years are all high-income economies that were badly hit by the global financial crisis, such as Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain.
On the other hand, the countries in which the share of NEETs decreased the most are either upper-middle-income economies, like Bulgaria, or low-income countries, like Cambodia.