Here are 3 industries with the highest potential for job creation

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Stefan Ellerbeck, Senior Writer, Forum Agenda

  • Global labour markets are being impacted by a period of industry transformation driven by new technology and value chain restructuring.
  • The World Economic Forum has launched the Global Future Council on the Future of Job Creation to help leaders discover the key investment pathways to create new jobs.
  • It says the energy, technology and care sectors have the greatest potential to provide high levels of job creation in many countries.

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic together with recent geo-political crises have impacted labour markets in very different ways, according to a new report.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Job Creation says that in many advanced economies, unemployment rates are the lowest they have been for decades and labour shortages are widespread. In member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) the average jobless rate was 4.9% at the end of 2022.

However, the picture is very different elsewhere. In its latest briefing paper the Council says that in low and lower-middle-income countries, levels of unemployment remain above pre-pandemic levels. Lower-middle income countries in particular have been experiencing the highest rates of unemployment.

Lower-middle income countries have suffered the highest levels of unemployment since the pandemic.

Lower-middle income countries have suffered the highest levels of unemployment since the pandemic. Image: World Economic Forum

Factors affecting job creation

Demographics have also played a significant role in the mixed global employment picture. Labour shortages in richer countries may be compounded further by a decline in the working-age population.

The paper notes that in Africa, which has the highest unemployment rates, the population is projected to grow by 450 million by 2035. But World Bank data suggests that without policy reform between now and then, there may be only 100 million new jobs on the continent available by then, the Council points out.

Women also experienced a greater loss of employment during the pandemic. Gender parity in the labour force was 62.9%, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022. This is the lowest level ever registered by the index.

And young people are another demographic experiencing greater levels of joblessness. The share of 15-24-year-olds not in employment, training or education rose to 23.3%, according to International Labour Organization (ILO) data.

Creating the jobs of the future

The paper’s authors say that aside from challenging macroeconomic headwinds, labour markets around the world are being disrupted by an era of industry transformation. And increased adoption of technology, the green energy transition and the restructuring of value chains are also impacting job creation.

The Council is working to help leaders discover the key investment pathways to create new jobs at both a local and global level: “Industries with a high potential for job creation are industries in which investments lead to a high rate of direct and indirect job creation. Direct job creation is driven by the creation of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses.”

These are three industry sectors it identifies as having the greatest existing and future potential to drive high job creation:

1. Energy and materials

Most of the world’s economies have committed to lowering emissions to combat the climate crisis. The energy transition could lead to significant job growth as domestic renewable capacity is scaled up.

China is currently the world leader in this sector providing a 42% share of renewable energy jobs globally. The country “has secured a leading role largely due to investments in offshore installations, production of critical materials such as polysilicon and dedicated industrial parks,” the briefing paper notes.

In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has created an estimated 100,000 clean energy jobs since it became law in August 2022. The Biden Administration is providing $370 billion in investments and tax incentives to turbo-charge the green energy transition in America.

2. IT and digital communications

Technology and digitalization are important drivers of direct job growth globally, but they are also significant drivers of growth elsewhere.

A study on employment growth in Europe has provided empirical evidence to support this.

“By using a standard economic growth model with employment multipliers, the authors estimate that each additional tech job leads to the generation of around five additional jobs in other sectors in Europe,” says the Council

3. Care, personal services and well-being

Investing in care could create almost 300 million jobs globally by 2035, according to the ILO. It estimates this will include 96 million direct jobs in childcare, 136 million in long-term care, as well as 67 million indirect jobs in other non-care sectors.

Out of total net employment creation, women will hold 78% of these new jobs by 2035. The report says making the necessary investment will “reap crucial economic and social benefits”.

Investing in care policies could create 299 million jobs by 2035.

Investing in care policies could create 299 million jobs by 2035. Image: ILO

However, new employment must offer “fair pay, protection and equal opportunity for all”. The Council highlights the fact that 214 million workers are currently living in extreme poverty globally and 60% of workers employed in the informal economy lack social protection, according to ILO data.

Shaping the future of work

The World Economic Forum’s Growth Summit in Geneva on 2-3 May 2023 is focused on finding ways to ensure jobs and future opportunities for all. Its key themes are enabling resilient growth, developing human capital and accelerating economic equity.

“We are facing a critical moment for the global economy, as the past year has accelerated trends of rising inequality, sharpening polarization, and both threats and opportunities from technology to jobs,” says Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.

“The Growth Summit will bring together leaders to shape a new vision for inclusive growth and advance initiatives to empower people with future-ready knowledge and skills. We must shape a recovery and a future economy that works for all.”

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