Building Inclusive Labour Markets in Kazakhstan

Building Inclusive Labour Markets in Kazakhstan

A Focus on Youth, Older Workers and People with Disabilities You do not have access to this content

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13 July 2017
9789264273023 (PDF) ;9789264275607(print)

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Kazakhstan has made major economic and social advances in the past decade and a half. Yet, Kazakhstan needs to sustain high growth rates in the future to converge towards the living standards of OECD countries. This report provides a review of the labour market and social policies that could help Kazakhstan in its dual objectives of building more inclusive labour markets, while maintaining a path of strong growth. It explores the role that institutions and policies play in helping vulnerable groups to access gainful and productive jobs, particularly focusing on three key groups: youth, older workers, and people with disabilities, and provides a comprehensive set of policies to increase the employment and employability of these groups. Evaluations and lessons from innovative experiences in OECD and other countries are used to formulate recommendations tailored to Kazakhstan.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgments

    The Kazakhstani economy and society underwent deep transformations in the last decades, passing from a period of economic unrest in the 1990s to a sustained period of rapid growth in the years 2000s. The most impressive achievement of this progress lies in the extent to which growth has been inclusive, witness significant improvements in the living standards of the population, declining poverty and income inequalities and growing employment.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    Like other economies in the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan underwent major economic and social transformations since it declared independence in 1991. The transition period that took place during the 1990s was characterised by hyperinflation, negative economic growth and massive job destruction. Following this temporary setback, however, since the early 2000s strong economic growth resumed, largely driven by the natural resources boom, making Kazakhstan one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

  • Assessment and recommendations
  • Key labour market challenges in Kazakhstan

    This chapter explores the labour market situation of Kazakhstan from an international comparative perspective. At a first glance, labour market outcomes suggest that Kazakhstan performs well in the international comparison. However, these figures should be used with some caution as they mask important challenges with regards to job quality. Informality and self-employment are widespread, especially among youth, older workers, and the low-skilled, suggesting that these workers have often access to poorly paid jobs, with limited access to training, little or no social security coverage, or protection provided by labour contracts. The incidence of low pay is quite high by international standards, and it is particularly high for informal and self-employed workers.

  • Investing in Kazakhstani youth

    With youth unemployment rates among the lowest in the world, Kazakhstani youth do not face high barriers in entering employment. One issue of major concern, however, is job quality, with many young people employed in low-quality, low-paid jobs, often in the informal sector. Within this context, this chapter looks at the demand- and supply-side barriers to good quality job opportunities for youth in Kazakhstan. First, it analyses demand-side barriers to youth employment, with a particular focus on: the cost of hiring; and the employment protection legislation. Second, it discusses the extent to which labour market and social policies support the employability of youth in Kazakhstan, particularly looking at: the role of skills in helping youth gaining access to high-quality jobs; the Public Employment Service and Active Labour Market Programmes to help youth (back) into (formal) work; social protection mechanisms to mitigate the negative consequences of being out of employment; as well as family policies to help youth (and especially young women) better balance family and work responsibilities.

  • Working longer with age: Strengthening the labour market outcomes of older workers in Kazakhstan

    Older workers in Kazakhstan are often an untapped resource and their potential value is not fully utilised in the labour market. Many older people are inactive compared to OECD countries; very few continue working beyond retirement age, and when they do it is often in the informal sector of the economy. This chapter analyses the reasons for older workers’ underrepresentation in the labour market, looking at four main issues: i) the demographic challenge and its impact on the employment prospects of older workers; ii) the policies that are needed to strengthen the “employability” of older workers; iii) the demand-side barriers to the hiring and retention of older workers; and iv) the policies that can make work rewarding for older workers, notably the design of the old-age pension system, as well as official and de facto early retirement schemes.

  • Breaking down labour market barriers for people with disabilities

    Few people with disability in Kazakhstan participate in the labour market, and – when employed – rarely manage to keep their job. This chapter looks at the role that institutions and policies play to help people with disabilities that are in a working age integrate the labour market. It provides an overview of people with disabilities in Kazakhstan, alongside an assessment of the institutional framework, including conditions of access to income support and activation requirements attached to benefits. Actionable policies to promote the employment of people with disabilities are suggested.

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