What are Employment & Skills?

Various cross-cutting thematic topics come under ‘Employment’. At the International Labour Organization (ILO), for instance, these include labour market policies, informal economy, youth employment and skills development. G20 employment workstreams include the Future of Work, productivity, social protection and sustainable wages. Employment covers all aspects of work and the policies which govern them.

Employability and the ability to embrace life-long learning are two important attributes which more and more businesses are looking for, especially in the context of the Future of Work. Cognitive skills, such as complex problem-solving and critical thinking, and socio-emotional skills, such as teamwork, resilience, self-confidence, negotiation and self-expression, are highly valuable as these skills cannot be imitated by technology. According to the World Bank Group, workers involved in routine tasks that are “codifiable” are most vulnerable to replacement. Reskilling and upskilling are also becoming increasingly important in tackling the skills gap as more businesses embrace advancements in artificial intelligence, technology and innovation.

Why are Employment & Skills relevant to business?

Employment, skills development, enterprise creation and entrepreneurship lie at the heart of sustainable development, economic prosperity and social stability.

It is critical to recruit the best talent with a healthy mix of skills because this contributes highly to the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness of businesses.

What is the IOE’s position on Employment & Skills?

The IOE works to ensure that the ILO, G20 and other international stakeholders remain focused on areas of core interest to employers:

  • Promote employment policies that support entrepreneurship, productivity and competitiveness of businesses;
  • Discuss and cooperate on employment policies to prepare all stakeholders for the Future of Work;
  • Develop and implement national Employment & Skills policies which support the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and target youth employment;
  • Advocate for sound, fair and appropriate regulatory and tax regimes that encourage sustained economic growth and employment creation;
  • Drive policies to reduce barriers to economic activity including non-wage labour costs, over-prescriptive standard setting and over-regulation of employer activity;
  • Encourage human resources policies and skills development that link emerging, important skills to the needs of enterprises;
  • Support strong efforts to formalise the informal economy;
  • Promote access to education, life-long learning and skills development;
  • Support the need to provide access to infrastructure, finance and technology, among others.

How does the IOE’s work on Employment & Skills advance the agenda for business?

The IOE advocates for and harnesses the collective strength and interests of the business community on employment issues. It frames the political discussions and international legal negotiations. The IOE aims to influence all the stakeholders by highlighting business ideas and concerns in the design, development, implementation and monitoring of employment policies. The IOE is also committed to giving guidance to its members on employment policies and to providing guidance on skills development.

The IOE network takes a global leadership role in championing the importance of youth employment, advocating for policies that increase job opportunities for young people, and ensuring international organisations support national efforts. In 2013, with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, the IOE initiated the Global Apprenticeships Network, dedicated to creating job opportunities for youth and a skills base that matches demand.

The IOE has a Policy Working Group on Employment & Skills. For further information, please refer to the link in the left column.