Gilbert Houngbo, the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has called upon G20 labour and employment ministers and world leaders to take action in bridging skill gaps and reducing inequalities in the global labor market.
During the recent G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting in Indore, India, Houngbo emphasized the importance of investing in social protection and adopting sustainable financing for employment and social policies. These measures aim to extend social security to more workers, including gig and platform economy workers, and address the worldwide skills gap.
The ILO highlighted the need to finance social protection systems sustainably and discussed specific policy priorities to accelerate progress in addressing global skills gaps and extending social protection to platform and gig workers.
Houngbo pointed out that the global employment divide is widening due to various shocks and risks, with low-income countries falling further behind. He emphasized mobilizing global resources to promote social justice and tackle this situation. Initiatives like the UN Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions can provide the necessary technical and financial support alongside broader reforms in the international financial architecture to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
The ILO DG also highlighted progress in reducing the NEET rate (young people aged 15 to 29 not in employment, education, or training) back to or below its pre-pandemic level, with 12 G20 members on track to achieve the target. To further tackle gender inequality and enhance youth employment, Houngbo stressed the need to invest in economic sectors with high youth employment potential and improve the quality of jobs to incentivize labor market participation.
Richard Samans, the Director of the ILO Research Department, emphasized that regions facing pervasive skills gaps are more likely to experience high unemployment rates. In turbulent times, investing in people can restore trust in institutions and help build a new social contract. Therefore, substantial investments in skills are crucial as we navigate socially just green and digital transitions.