When Gopal Maharjan, a young engineering graduate in Nepal, started looking for a job in Kathmandu he did not get a great response. Then he heard about online jobs with CloudFactory, a “microwork” platform. He and some friends formed a group and applied online. They were accepted and given part-time jobs doing work such as digitizing old, hand-written data, tracking supermarket receipts, or even medical transcription. The group meets regularly with CloudFactory staff to share questions about their work and learn.
“Economically, this job is a lot of help,” says Gopal. “Now I don’t have to feel odd in front of my friends who are working, as I have a source of income as well. My family is also very supportive of the job, as they feel that I am being productive and not wasting my time.”
Across the globe, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are transforming the world of work, creating new job opportunities and making labor markets more innovative, inclusive, and global.
According to a new World Bank policy note, “Connecting to Work: How Information and Communication Technologies Could Help Expand Employment Opportunities,” three trends are driving the increase in ICT-related jobs worldwide:
- Greater connectivity – more than 120 countries now have over 80 percent market penetration of mobile telephones.
- Digitization of more aspects of work – today, telecommuting and outsourcing have become standard business practices globally.
- More globalized skills – India and the Philippines have become major outsourcing hubs thanks to their English language skills, and other countries are targeting the sector for future growth.
“ICTs are influencing employment both as an industry that creates jobs and as a tool that empowers workers to access new forms of work, in new and more flexible ways,” says Chris Vein, World Bank Chief Innovation Officer for Global ICT Development. “The emerging ICT-enabled employment opportunities matter because countries around the world are looking to create more good jobs, which have positive economic and social implications for workers and for society.”