Creating more and better Jobs: What do we know? What can be done?

More jobs are not good enough – sustainable development also requires the creation of better jobs, i.e. those that can provide a ”decent” pay and a minimum level of social protection. On 7 May 2008, experts met in Rabat (Morocco) to discuss ways in which to achieve this important policy objective.

Participants highlighted the importance of economic growth, but also agreed that growth alone is not sufficient. Many trade-offs exist in the quest for more and better jobs, notably the clash between quantity versus quality in job creation; the need for higher skills versus inequality; and the time inconsistency problem for policy making.

Demographic factors were another focus of lively discussions. Again, countries differ significantly in this respect. While high youth unemployment is seen as a major problem in many countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, India considers the high percentage of young people as a ”demographic dividend”.

The extension of social protection and – more generally – the recognition of the economic importance of the informal (mostly unprotected) sector was seen as an important prerequisite for poverty alleviation and the political feasibility of reform. Although no consensus emerged on the importance of labour policies relative to other related reforms, participants agreed that evaluations and innovations in the area of labour market policies are key to improve the performance of labour markets.