Delivering decent jobs

Expanding access to quality Active Labour Market Policies will be key to bring workers into the formal sector and deliver decent jobs in Asia and the Pacific. 

Countries need to progressively transition the large share of informal workers into formal, green and decent jobs. With the majority of the region’s labour force trapped in informal employment, most workers do not benefit from international labour standards, including access to social protection. The abundance of informal employment and low-skilled occupations contributes to social exclusion and marginalization. It also hampers countries’ development prospects.

Promoting lifelong learning will enable workers to keep up with technological changes and adapt to new green jobs, as a response to climate change. It is also increasingly important in the context of rapid population ageing and the changing world of work. Upgrading of skills can, for example, happen through vocational, on-the-job, technical and entrepreneurial skills trainings.

But these programmes need to be tailored to the needs and skill levels of participants, as well as to local labour market conditions. These programmes have great potential to help individuals acquire competencies that enable access to productive and decent employment. For higher impact, training schemes should be combined with other activation measures such as cash grants or access to subsidized loans. 

Active Labour Market Policies and social protection need to work together for maximum effect. Linking participation in active labour market programmes with income security from social protection schemes is important to facilitate the full and effective participation as well as completion rates of programme participants. This is essential for workers in the informal economy, where salaries are generally much lower and access to social protection is uncommon.