Labor markets: OECD highlighted main problems

Анастасия Устругова Анастасия Устругова Expert of Center Russia-OECD published Employment issues · Sustainable development · Social politics
Labor markets: OECD highlighted main problems

On 7 July OECD published new Employment Outlook 2016. After analysis, a number of important conclusions were made.

The post‑crisis jobs gap is finally closing, but governments need to address poor job quality and unequal opportunities in the labor market.

Labor market conditions are continuing to improve in OECD countries and the share of the working‑age population in work is projected to return to its pre‑crisis level in 2017, nearly ten years after the onset of the global financial crisis. However, the recovery continues to be uneven and unemployment remains too high in many European countries. Even in countries where labor market slack has been absorbed, low quality jobs and a high level of labor market inequality are of concern. Many of the workers displaced from jobs in manufacturing and construction fields during the crisis couldn’t find the proper use of their skills in the modernized services sector.

Low‑skilled youth who are disconnected from both employment and learning risk are being permanently left behind in the labor market.

In 2015, 15% of 15‑29 year‑olds were in this category. On average, 38% of all youths have not finished upper secondary schooling and are less likely to be actively searching for a job than more educated (33% versus 45%) ones. Many members of this vulnerable group are likely to require targeted assistance to improve their long‑term career prospects.

How skills are used at work affects productivity, wages and job satisfaction, and employers and governments should do more to foster better skills use.

Survey of 25 OECD countries shows that teamwork, job rotation, bonus pay, and flexibility in working hours, are associated with a significantly better use of skills at work. Globalisation and offshoring also affect skills use, but their impact can be either positive or negative depending on the position of a country’s firms within global value chains.

Structural reforms may result in short‑term employment losses but governments can take steps to reduce or even avoid these costs.

There is broad consensus among economists that structural reforms of product and labor markets have positive long‑run effects. However these structural reforms may also entail short‑run adjustment costs in the labor market. However, these short‑term costs are shown to be smaller or even non‑existent when these types of reforms are enacted during an economic expansion. There are also some steps that government can take to help attenuate short‑term employment costs, such as combination of different a reforms.

Closing gender gaps in emerging economies remains an important challenge.

Despite unprecedented progress over the past century, gender gaps in the labor market persist throughout the world and are especially marked in emerging economies. While the proportion of jobs held by women has increased, female workers continue to have worse jobs than men. An up‑to‑date picture of gender gaps is painted for 16 emerging economies accounting for over half of the world’s population.