G20 Facts and Figures

An overview of facts and figures on the world of work for G20 countries

Economic and Employment Growth

  • After a slight dip in 2017, the GDP is expected to continue to grow in G20 countries by 3.9 per cent in 2018. The overall growth is mainly driven by G20 emerging countries (5.3 per cent) while G20 advanced countries grow more moderately (2.4 per cent).
  • The unemployment rate in G20 countries decreased by 0.4 percentage points from its peak in 2009 to 5.2 per cent in 2017 and is projected to further decrease to 5.1 per cent in 2018.
  • Youth unemployment (13.1 per cent in 2017) remains a major concern and is on average 2.5 times higher than the overall unemployment rate.
  • Over the past 20 years, the gender gap in the labour force participation rate decreased by 5.8 percentage points in advanced G20 countries (projected at 13.8 per cent in 2018). The gap has, however, increased by 2.3 percentage points in emerging G20 countries (projected at 30.5 per cent in 2018).
  • Informal employment: The significant progress achieved in the past in reducing informal employment has essentially stalled since 2012, with the G20 average remaining high for both women (33%) and men (40%). Informal employment is on average 4.5 times more prevalent in emerging than in advanced G20 countries.

Wages and inequality

  • From 2012 onwards average real wage growth in emerging G20 economies decelerated from 6.9 per cent per annum to 2.9 per cent per annum. In 2016, this trend reversed and the growth rate reached 4.9 per cent in 2016 before dropping again to 4 per cent in 2017. At the same time, in advanced G20 economies, average wage growth increased from an estimated 0.2 per cent annually in 2012 to an estimated 1.7 per cent in 2015. However, the growth rate decreased again to 0.9 and 0.4 per cent in 2016 and 2017 respectively. As a result, the differential in wage growth between advanced and emerging G20 economies declined sharply.
  • Wage inequality remains a major concern. In several countries, wage inequality has increased since the early 2000s, with the largest increases in Indonesia (+22%), Republic of Korea (+19%), Australia (+15%) and the US (+12%). Other countries experienced a decrease in wage inequality, with the sharpest falls in Brazil (-37%), Russia (-30%), India (-25%) and Chile (-24%).
  • Women are particularly affected by wage inequality. The gender pay gap in terms of gross hourly wages is highest in emerging economies. India, Mexico and South Africa, for instance, have pay gaps above 40 per cent, which is twice as large as in most advanced G20 countries.

The Future of Work in G20 countries and beyond

  • Technology and employment: Despite much concern, technological change to date does not seem to have led to a significant increase in unemployment. Especially in advanced G20 economies, the costs of digitalization (e.g. in terms of the average computer storage costs) have declined sharply since the mid-1990s. At the same time, job destruction rates have actually fallen. However, income inequality is increasing at the same time as the costs of data storage are falling. [Read more]
  • Growing labour market polarization: As jobs are being destroyed in manufacturing and parts of services sectors (e.g. wholesale and retails), employment in both low- and high-skilled occupations has risen. Studies on robotization show that displacement is high for routine tasks (i.e. tasks that can easily be translated into software-driven robots), including in many services sectors where digitalization and artificial intelligence have come to play a bigger role. [Read more]
  • Rising demand for high-level cognitive and social skills: In many G20 countries, employment is shifting towards jobs that require high-level cognitive and socio-emotional skills or are characterised by non-standardised tasks, while jobs with a high routine content are being automated or offshored to varying degrees. This transition is proving major challenge for education and training systems, particularly for low-skilled workers who will need significant retraining. [Read more]
  • Social protection: In most of the G20 countries, social protection systems serve the large majority of workers in formal employment. However, these systems require innovative approaches for ensuring universal social protection for the future of work, in particular to also serve the needs of those in non-standard forms of employment, and cover those currently in informal employment. [Read more]
  • Demographic change: Most emerging G20 countries encounter challenges to integrate the large proportion of young people into their labour markets. The situation is different in advanced G20 countries, where societies are ageing alongside a shrinking labour force. Although an ageing population might present new employment opportunities (e.g. in the care economy), it will place an increased strain on the active workforce, who will be expected to sustain social security systems upon which the growing number of retired workers rely. In the mid- and long-term, this challenge is expected to become reality in all G20 economies. [Read more]
(Last update in 2018 / Source: ILO STAT)