Competitiveness, productivity and jobs – Promoting sustainable enterprises in Asia and the Pacific

Sustainable productivity growth, competitiveness and job creation will play a key role in reducing poverty, creating jobs and ensuring that sufficient decent work is available.

The promotion of sustainable productivity growth, competitiveness and job creation is a key priority for realizing decent work and reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. Many countries have made considerable progress towards achieving this goal. Increased labour productivity in Asia has played a leading role in the region’s tremendous growth performance and has helped to increase competitiveness and reduce poverty.

However, accelerating productivity growth in Asia and the Pacific will be more urgent in the coming 10 to 20 years. To compensate for demographic and labour force trends, the region will need faster labour productivity growth if it wants to maintain its recent GDP growth rates.

A key requirement for accelerating productivity growth in Asia and the Pacific is an environment that allows enterprises to improve productivity and remain competitive. Policies, institutions and regulations that provide such an environment for enterprises can make a substantial contribution to employment creation.

Another key factor for productivity growth has become the availability of skilled workers and employees and the reform of national training policies and systems. Progressive workplace practices based on good working conditions, continuous workplace learning, good labour-management relations and respect for workers’ rights, are equally important for raising productivity and promoting decent work.

However, policies to enhance productivity and competitiveness need to recognize Asia’s diversity and they need to be customized in line with countries’ level of development, available resources and institutional capacity. Thus, achieving the acceleration of productive growth in Asia must require a country-specific mix of policies aimed at:

  • Creating an environment conducive to sustainable enterprises
  • Building human capital in basic education, as well as in technical and core skills
  • Encouraging the application of decent and productive workplace practices
  • Addressing sector-specific challenges through value chain and cluster upgrading
  • Promoting environmental friendly technology and ways of doing businesses.

Addressing this challenge, the ILO’s social partners in Asia increasingly include the need for sustained productivity improvements in the Decent Work Country Programmes.

As part of the ADWD resource kit, please download the booklet “Competitiveness, productivity and jobs – The promotion of sustainable enterprises in Asia and the Pacific”. The booklet serves as a gateway into ILO expertise and knowledge within this regional priority area. It briefly discusses key challenges for the Asian region, and - in the electronic version – links directly to key resources, good practices and related projects.

For further questions please contact the ILO Regional office at