Three quarters of workers don't have stable employment, says UN arm ILO

More than three-quarters of the world's workforce have insecure, part-time, temporary or otherwise unstable jobs, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the UN agency notes that's hurting the global economy.

Report by International Labour Organization says workers face 'widespread insecurity'

The International Labour Organization says only 25% of workers around the world have permanent jobs 2:33

More than three-quarters of the world's workforce have insecure, part-time, temporary or otherwise unstable jobs, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the UN agency notes that's hurting the global economy.

The report, by the International Labour Organization (ILO), indicates about 25 per cent of workers have "stable" employment.

The rest are working part time, self-employed, only have temporary employment or have had to settle for something else, such as unpaid family work, to earn their keep. 

If I'm working part time I should, pro-rated, be getting paid the same amount as the person sitting next to me working full time- ILO head Guy Ryder

"In some cases, non-standard forms of work can help people get a foothold into the job market," ILO director general Guy Ryder said. "But these emerging trends are also a reflection of the widespread insecurity that's affecting many workers worldwide today."

The report looked at working conditions in 180 countries, and claims to cover 84 per cent of the world's potential pool of labour.

Between 2009 and 2013, there were more part-time jobs created than full-time jobs in virtually every part of the world for which the ILO could find data.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with part-time work, and indeed it is the preferred employment type for millions of workers with other obligations. Too often, however, part-time work is not what the worker would prefer.

"We should be seeking to provide people with their preferred options for work," Ryder said in an interview with The Exchange with Amanda Lang on CBC News Network on Tuesday.

Part of the problem with that type of work, he said, is that even when it's desired, part-time workers tend to get paid less based on the proportional amount of work they do, and they tend have inferior pension or benefits offered.

"If I'm working part time I should, pro-rated, be getting paid the same amount as the person sitting next to me working full time," Ryder said.

"Some people want to work part time … but we should still be aiming for full employment."

Unemployment growing

All in all, 201 million people don't have jobs but want to work, the report says. 

Despite the narrative of an improving global economy, that figure is 30 million people higher than it was in 2008, before the last worldwide recession.

There's a growing disconnect in incomes between people with steady employment and individuals who have to settle for something else. The ILO report says that job stability since the recession has actually gotten worse in many parts of the world, and large increases in worker productivity are not filtering down into wage gains for workers yet.

In another finding from the report, nearly a quarter of workers around the world are living with their families on less than $2 a day, and 10 per cent of the global workforce lived on earnings of less than $1.25.

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