ILO Research paper No. 16

Linking jobs in global supply chains to demand

This paper presents evidence on the number of jobs in global supply chains for 40 countries, and explores in detail whose demand these jobs depend on in terms of countries and sectors. The paper documents the rapidly increasing number of jobs supported by production linkages between emerging economies, and provides evidence on the so-called servicification of manufacturing. Wage shares drop when a sector increases its participation in global supply chains as a supplier.

In its recent World Employment and Social Outlook, the ILO published estimates of the number of jobs related to global supply chains (GSCs) for 40 countries in 1995–2013. This paper provides a detailed description of the methodology that was used for the estimation and documents the links between GSC-related jobs and demand. The paper shows evidence on the number of jobs supported by demand in different export destinations and analyzes the number of GSC-related jobs in different country groups. In particular, we find evidence for the changing role of China, from a country in which GSC-related jobs are located to a country whose import demand creates these jobs elsewhere. We also show that production linkages between emerging economies create an increasing number of jobs. When focusing on jobs related to manufacturing GSCs, trends in GSC-related jobs reveal the increasing importance of the services sector. Finally, we conduct a sectoral regression analysis and provide evidence that increased GSC participation of a sector as a supplier can be associated with a drop in the wage share. We show that this result holds regardless of whether advanced or emerging economies are the final export destination, where demand originates.