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Jobs are at the heart of development. The limited availability of quality jobs remains one of the most pressing problems in developing countries, especially given the demographic challenge facing low-income countries. Of the 5 billion people who make up today’s working age population, 84% live in developing countries, mostly working in informal (70% of all jobs), low productivity, low-paying, insecure jobs. Only 25% of the world’s waged jobs are in low and lower-middle income countries.

Improving job quality is a priority, especially for the 3.7 million young people expected to reach working age every month globally from 2020-2030. The upcoming World Bank Jobs Flagship report will provide operational guidance to support the creation of better jobs with economic transformation in developing countries.

Linking the transition to greener economies to the creation of better jobs can offer double dividends, for the environment and for workers. Creating better jobs while achieving ‘net zero’ in carbon emissions is a priority in many developing countries where productive activities are both environmentally detrimental and linked to low paying and insecure jobs.

Investment in renewable energy, for example, stimulates demand for both high and low-skilled jobs. A transition to greener, better, more resilient jobs, and a just transition to low-carbon economies is not automatic and takes time. It requires investments in new technologies, upskilling, and transition support for workers and the need to address constraints to labor demand in the private sector.

Technological advancements have become a “new” driver of structural transformation, offering opportunities to create new jobs and increase productivity. Digital technology has enhanced a growing role for the service sectors in the generation of better jobs at an earlier stage of development.

Digitization also opens important new avenues for sustainable inclusive agricultural value chain development (iVCD) and increasing smallholder productivity. Digital technology also generates new "gig jobs” through digital platforms and could lead to new employment opportunities that could prove particularly attractive and accessible for the young labor force. Yet, the digital divide remains wide, both in access and in capability, in many developing countries that impedes economic transformation.

Giving women more economic opportunities and access to quality jobs is crucial for sustainable and resilient growth. Despite progress in women's education and health, gender gaps persist across multiple dimensions of job outcomes. To bridge this gap, gender-sensitive job strategies should be implemented based on country-specific diagnostics, with coordinated action taken by policymakers, businesses, and civil society.  These strategies should aim to address the multiple and interrelated constraints that impede women's equal participation in the labor market, such as limited access to education and training, childcare, cultural biases and stereotypes, restricted access to assets, and legal and regulatory inequalities

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2023

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