The world of work presents a gloomy outlook, with 201 million unemployed globally in 2014, which is 30 million more than were seen before the recession in 2008. Compounding the lack of jobs is the changing nature of jobs. The older system of full-time jobs and a secure relationship between employers and employees, and secure income is disappearing.
Overall 60% of the people worldwide have only part time work. This change from full time jobs to part-time jobs is most evident in the developed countries, particularly Europe, North America and Australia. Many European countries report high part time employment- Switzerland (27%), UK (23%), Ireland (23%), Germany (22%), Austria, and Denmark (20%), besides Netherlands. Australia (25%) and New Zealand (21%), Japan (22%), Israel (26%) and Canada (19%) are the other countries vulnerable to these ominous trends. Though informal work at the bottom of the employment ladder is still prevalent in developing and emerging countries, in general they report a reverse trend with more secure job formation.
Causes of the Change
One of the main reason behind the change is increasing application of new technology and changes in the organization of production. Much of these measures increase productivity and volumes of production. However, these new technology shorten production cycles, which cut down on the time that people need to be employed. In combination with fierce competition that companies face, employees contract time and working hours have been decreased.
One in five worker is currently involved in global chains of production. Global supply chains are complex and can be direct and indirect. It is direct when a multinational invests in a project in a developing country, so the ownership (and accruing profits) most of the times stay in companies based in developed countries. Then there are subsidiary units with local ownership in the developing countries supplying to these multinationals. Most of the employees in developing countries who work in these global chains, get wages that is comparable to local businesses in their countries. Globally it means workers earn less. The recession in 2008, has decreased demand and their production in these global production chains, resulting in less work.
Impacts of these Employment Trends
A decrease in working hours and wages, has major implications economically and socially. With lower wages, at a time when productivity is high, sees demand decreasing. Lack in consumption affects investment and government revenues. Socially, income inequalities rise when part-time jobs become the norm. Temporary workers, part-time workers tend to slide into or remain in poverty and social exclusion. There is a gender issue complicating the situation, as women are more likely to be employed part time or in the informal sector.
Remedies to Get Workers Back on Full-Time
Many of the countries in the developed world which face high part-time employment have begun to recognize the problem, and have legislation to provide equal protection to both full time and part times employees. However these countries have also reduced the overall protection to workers in a bid to improve productivity. Many countries, both developing and developed, have a combination of social protection and market policies that try to improve the number of full time employment.