The global economic slowdown will mean more workers having to accept lower-quality, less secure and lower paid work, according to the International Labour Organization.
In its World Employment and Social Outlook for 2023, the United Nations-affiliated workers’ body predicts that employment growth globally will only be 1% in 2023, less than half what it was in 2022.
Global unemployment will rise by around 3 million to 208 million, which equates to a global unemployment rate of 5.8%. This will remain relatively “moderate”, according to the ILO, thanks to a tight labour supply in high-income countries.
This marks a reversal in the decline in global unemployment that had been measured between 2020 and 2022, and will remain 16 million above its pre-crisis benchmark, set in 2019.
The key trend will be a shortage of better quality employment opportunities, the ILO said.
Many workers will have to accept lower-quality roles, at lower pay, and without guaranteed hours.
Because inflation is pushing up prices quicker than incomes are increasing, there is a risk that this trend could push more people into poverty. This comes on top of the impact of Covid-19, which disproportionately hit those on lower incomes, the ILO added.
In its report, the ILO identified a growing “global jobs gap”, a measure that includes people who want employment but are not actively searching for a job. This may be due to other responsibilities or because they feel shut out of the job market, it found.
The global jobs gap figure stood at 473 million in 2022, around 33 million above what it was in 2019.
The current labour trends are impacting women and young people more than other groups, the ILO said.
Globally, the labour force participation rate of women stood at 47.4% in 2022, compared with 72.3% for men. This gap means that for every economically inactive man, there are two such women.
The global unemployment rate for people between the ages of 15 and 24 is three times that of adults. Almost a quarter of young people are not in employment, education or training.
“The need for more decent work and social justice is clear and urgent,” said ILO director-general, Gilbert F. Houngbo. “But if we are to meet these multiple challenges, we must work together to create a new global social contract.”
The ILO has called for a global coalition for social justice to create policies that supports workers in the changing labour market.
“The slowdown in global employment growth means that we don’t expect the losses incurred during the Covid-19 crisis to be recovered before 2025,” added Richard Samans, report coordinator and director of the ILO’s research department.
“The slowdown in productivity growth is also a significant concern, as productivity is essential for addressing the interlinked crises we face in purchasing power, ecological sustainability and human wellbeing.”