|Relevant SDG Targets
1.5, 8.5, 8.8, 9.a, 9.b
|Relevant Policy Outcomes
1, 2, 10, 3, 4, 6
|On this page: DWA-SDG Relationship | Cross-cutting policy drivers | Partnerships | ILO Capacity | Resources
In 2016, 197 million people were unemployed and youth unemployment stood at 71 million. The challenge for governments is to generate opportunities for full, productive, freely chosen and decent employment for all women and men who seek work.
In this context, the primary goal of active labour market policies (ALMPs) 18 is to increase employment opportunities for job seekers through more effective and efficient matching of jobs (vacancies) and jobseekers while improving the employability of workers to reduce the skills mismatch. In so doing, ALMPs can contribute to employment and economic growth and reduce unemployment as rapidly as possible and with the best possible job match, by providing jobseekers with the support they need to successfully re-enter the labour market (15).
ALMPs are usually targeted at specific groups facing particular labour market integration difficulties: younger and older people, demobilized soldiers and those particularly hard to place, as well as those who are far away from the labour market such as people with disabilities, the youth neither in employment, education or training (NEET), and migrants. Active labour market policies may be classified in four categories:
- a. employment intermediation services (job search assistance, information provision, counselling and matching);
- b. labour market training;
- c. subsidized employment (public employment/works programmes, wage and hiring subsidies, job retention subsidies); and
- d. entrepreneurship and self-employment.
Investments in physical, financial, natural, human and social capital are not only necessary, but also have significant potential to contribute to building climate resilience and disaster risk management. These employment intensive programmes can restore and protect the productive capacity of lands, build resilient infrastructure capable of addressing climate change and natural disasters and at the same time, create livelihood and income security for the most vulnerable. The development of appropriate climate resilient infrastructure can also contribute to environmental preservation, land conservation and productivity. In addition, such infrastructure can mitigate the impacts of future disasters – disaster risk reduction – and provide jobs to the communities that need them the most.
Prominent examples of such ALMPs include the Mahatma Ghandi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) in India which guarantees one hundred days of wage-employment per financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work, as well as the South African Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which aims to provide “an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households in the short to medium-term, also providing poverty and income relief through socially useful activities". Both of these schemes have also taken specific measures to provide women with equal opportunities for employment and skills development.
In order to ensure value for money, measurement of the effectiveness and cost efficiency of active labour market programmes continues to attract the attention of politicians, policy makers and the public at large, particularly in developed countries but also increasingly in emerging and developing countries. Impact assessments of various labour market programmes – quantitative and qualitative – are being implemented to assess labour market outcomes brought about by such programmes, including for particularly vulnerable groups such as women and youth.
In addition to those listed under section 3, there are other Conventions, such as the Employment Service Convention, 1948 (No. 88), the Private Agencies Convention, 1997 (No.181), the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention, 1983 (No. 159), and the Older Workers Recommendation, 1980 (No. 162).
Moreover, the ILO advises governments and other implementing partners on the application of such labour standards in labour market programmes. The dual nature of ALMPs as economic and social interventions makes them particularly attractive to all three members of the ILO constituency; their design, implementation and monitoring stand to benefit from concerted action initiated through social dialogue between government and the social partners.
The phrase “and equal pay for work of equal value” highlights the gender equality and non-discriminatory dimension of SDG target 8.5. ALMPs designed in support of this target must incorporate this dimension, and apply relevant labour standards. The ILO supports member states in their assessment and strengthening of their capacity to provide employment services to women such as the support given to the Turkish Public Employment Service Agency in both the last and current biennium.
The Inter-Agency Social Protection Assessments (ISPA) Initiative, which involves some 20 international development partners, provides a concrete example of successful partnership around ALMPs. The ILO is leading the ISPA working group on public works programme tool assessment to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of existing policies, schemes and programmes, as well as administrative and implementation structures in place, thus contributing to social protection systems and offering active labour market policy options for further action. employment policy (EMP/LAB), employment-intensive investments (EMP/INVEST), skills development (SKILLS), employment services and active labour market policies, application of standards, gender, equality and diversity, and workers and employers activities can and do provide support to ALMPs in the field. All ILO technical teams in the field include specialists covering several, if not all, these areas of expertise.
- labour market policy
- employment services
- skills development and employability
- employment-intensive approaches
- gender equality in the world of work
- disability at the workplace
- reintegration of ex-combatants
- labour market page of the ITC Turiin
18 - Passive labour market policies are those that are concerned with providing replacement income during periods of joblessness or job search, such as unemployment insurance or social transfers. They are included, for brevity, under the section on the extension of social protection. It should be noted that due to mainly fiscal constraints countries, particularly in the industrialized world, are adopting activation measures whereby recipients of passive policies are obliged to actively search for employment or participate in active measures, otherwise they face sanctions. In such cases, active and passive measures become mutually supportive and complementary.
15. EC. European Semester Thematic Fiche - Active Labour Market Policies . Brussels : European Commission, 2014.