Low Unemployment Rates Does Not Means Quality Jobs

March 20, 2023 thehrobserver-hrobserver

Of the roughly 3.3 billion people who want a great job, only 300 million have one.

Amid rising work shifts and layoffs globally, having a decent job has become even more difficult with people struggling with the increase in cost of living. 

“Of the roughly 3.3 billion people who want a great job, only 300 million have one.This is the real global jobs crisis,” wrote Jon Clifton, the CEO of Gallup, in his essay The Real Global Jobs Crisis part of the book Blind Spot: The Global Rise of Unhappiness and How Leaders Missed It.

According to the ILO, COVID-19 pandemic has pushed unemployment to only 6.6% in 2020 and 6.2% in 2021. However, Gallup reports that the metrics of how unemployment is measured are not reliable given that many desperate people report that they are self employed whilst they are seeking any form of employment to continue living.

Most countries collect labour statistics through long surveys administered to tens of thousands of people. In the surveys people are asked about their working hours and whether it was for an employer or for themselves. 

“Now, imagine posing these questions to a subsistence farmer in Africa or someone selling trinkets on the street in India. “Did you work 30 hours or more in the previous week?” Of course they did. Although their work does not meet their basic needs, they still have what global agencies define as work. They are officially “self-employed,” meaning they are not unemployed,” wrote Clifton. 

He explained that the metrics by which the employment data is collected is why  unemployment rates are so low in some of the poorest countries in the world. 

“Millions who are truly unemployed are considered self-employed, and their painful work arrangement is evident when you look at their wellbeing,” he added. 

Gallup regularly tracks global employment using a survey that closely follows the standards set by the ILO, he explained.According to Gallup 2019-2021 results were:

  • 44% employed full time for an employer
  • 22% self-employed
  • 13% part time, want full-time work
  • 10% part time, do not want full-time work
  • 11% unemployed

“So, if 22% are self-employed, and 30% of the self-employed live in extreme poverty, we can estimate that at least 6% (30% of the 22%) of the total workforce is incorrectly categorised as “self-employed.” They aren’t entrepreneurs — they are people who desperately need meaningful work and are doing anything to get by. They are truly unemployed,” he added. 

“But sorting out who has some work and who has no work is not the core of the global jobs crisis. The real problem is the absence of metrics on the quality of someone’s job,” added Clifton.

Gallup finds that only 20% of all people are thriving at work, while 62% have quietly quit and 18% have loudly quit.

Given how many hours people spend at work, an average of 115,704 hours of their life, how people feel at work affects their overall well being. According to Gallup, if a person is thriving at work, they will experience less stress, sadness, anger, pain, and worry every day compared to those who have loudly quit. 

When the organisation surveyed German working adults, 81% of thriving workers reported having fun at work in the past week, compared with only 10% of loud quitters. The loud quitters were miserable at home as well. Meanwhile 59% of the  loud quitters say that in the past month, they had three or more days when the stress of work caused them to behave poorly with their family and friends.

The organisation said that loud quitters are more likely than the unemployed to report anger, stress, physical pain, and worry, and less likely to report positive experiences such as enjoyment, respect, intellectual stimulation, and laughing and smiling a lot.

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