Employment

Employment is a key factor in self-sufficiency. On average, about 60% of the population over age 15 were employed in Asia/Pacific and OECD economies (58.2%) in 2017 (Figure 4.3). A large disparity is observed: three in four of population over age 15 are employed in Nepal and Viet Nam, while only one in three have a job in Lao PDR, Samoa and Timor-Leste.

On average, as among OECD economies, employment rates in the Asia/Pacific region recovered close to pre- Great Recession levels in 2017, and employment is now higher than in 2007 in almost half of the Asia/Pacific countries. However, the employment rebound has been unequal across countries. The largest increases in employment between 2007 and 2017 – above 4.0 percentage points, were recorded for Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

People in high-income economies are more likely to work in the non-agricultural sector compared with those in low-income economies (Figure 4.4). Over 80% of people employed in Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore are engaged in the service-sector with less than 1% of all employed in the agricultural sector. By contrast, the largest share of employed people in Korea DPR and Nepal – over 67%, are in the agricultural sector.

Informal employment prevails in Asia/Pacific economies (Figure 4.5). Two out of three workers in the non-agricultural sector are engaged in informal employment in Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Timor-Leste. In contrast, informal employment only concerns one in six workers in Japan. Gender gaps in informal employment are small. Women in Korea, Lao PDR and Nepal are more likely to be in informal employment than men, but men are more likely to be involved in informal employment in countries that were part of the former Soviet Union, such as Armenia, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan.

Definition and measurement

The employment rate is defined as the ratio of employed people over age 15 to the population over age 15. Data was taken from the International Labour Organisation’s Key Indicators of the Labour Market (LILM) Database for non-OECD countries and the OECD Employment Database for the Four OECD countries.

Employment by sector is based on the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC Revision 4). Data was taken from the International Labour Organisation’s World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2018.

Informal employment is defined by the nature of the enterprise: own-account workers and employers are having the informal employment status when the job has the informal sector nature. Employers, with or without hired workers, operating an informal enterprise are classified as in informal employment. All family workers are classified as having informal employment, irrespective of whether they work in formal or informal sector enterprises (ILO 2018).

Figure note

ILO (2018), Women and men in the informal economy: A statistical picture (third edition), Geneva, www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_626831/lang--en/index.htm.

Figure 4.3. About 60% of the population over age 15 are employed in Asia/Pacific economies
Share of employed people over age 15 to the population over age 15 (%), 2007 and 2017 or the latest year
picture

Key Indicators of the Labour Market Database (ILO 2018) and OECD Employment Database.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900040

Figure 4.4. People in high-income economies are more likely to work in the non-agricultural sector
Employment by sector, ILO modelled estimates (%), 2017
picture

ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook (ILO 2018).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900059

Figure 4.5. Informal employment prevails in Asia/Pacific economies
Share of informal employment in total employment and in non-agricultural employment by sex (%), 2016 or the latest year
picture

Women and men in the informal economy: A statistical picture. Third edition (ILO 2018).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900078

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