While employment creation in developing countries is high on the agenda of most donor agencies, there are different views on how to achieve it. This page brings together key publications on the theme offering insights into major obstacles and potential solutions to job creation, as well as options for donor support. A short Synthesis Note, drawing from research, which seeks to unpack the tensions between different approaches to job creation can be downloaded here.
DCED synthesis note: employment creation
For a summary of key research on employment, download our Synthesis Note.
- World Employment and Social Outlook.Trends 2017, ILO. The ILO’s flagship report takes stock of the current global labour market situation, assesses the most recent employment developments and forecasts unemployment levels. It also focuses on trends in job quality, paying particular attention to working poverty and vulnerable employment.
- Increasing Employment Opportunities: Navigating Africa’s complex job market. Brookings Institution, 2017. This report aims to identify and implement policies which can capatilise on Africa’s “demographic dividend.” It analyses the challenges to the creation of job opportunities from both demand- and supply-side factors.
- Promoting Productive Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. A Review of the Literature, UNU-MERIT, 2013. In sub-Saharan Africa, the primary employment problem is not unemployment but underemployment. As such, this paper focuses on productive and sustainable employment, rather than just the employment rate.
- 2013 World Development Report on Jobs, The World Bank, 2013. In 2013, the World Bank’s flagship World Development Report focused on jobs. It identified the role of strong private sector led growth in creating jobs and outlined how jobs that do the most for development can spur a virtuous cycle.
- IFC Jobs Study. Assessing Private Sector Contributions to Job Creation and Poverty Reduction, IFC, 2013. It is crucial to understand the constraints that private companies face in creating jobs. This report aims to help by providing an understanding of how the private sector generates jobs, what constraints limit job creation, and how these problems can be mitigated.
- Growth and Employment in the Post-2015 Agenda: Messages from a Global Consultation, UNDG, 2013. This report presents the main outcomes of the global thematic consultation on Growth and Employment, one of the 11 themes on which the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) organized consultations.
- Africa at Work. Job Creation and Inclusive Growth, McKinsey Global Institute, 2012. This report aims to present a comprehensive exploration of Africa’s employment landscape. This research includes quantitative analysis of available national employment data, a survey of more than 1,300 companies in five African countries, and interviews with dozens of business leaders and policy makers.
The relationships between growth, employment and poverty reduction
- Working for economic transformation, ODI/ECDPM, 2015.
- What do empirical studies say about economic growth and job creation in developing countries?, EPS PEAKS, 2013.
- Jobs, growth and poverty: What do we know, what don’t we know, what should we know?, ODI, 2011.
Employment and poverty reduction
- Wage labor, agriculture-based economies and pathways out of poverty. Taking stock of the evidence, USAID, 2015.
- Creating jobs that reduce poverty: A Research Agenda on Developing-Country Gazelles, RTI, 2012.
- The role of employment and labour markets in the fight against poverty, OECD, 2009.
- Does employment really matter for poverty reduction?, The World Bank, 2007.
Country Assessments and sectoral employment studies
- Manufacturing progress? Employment creation in Sri Lanka, ODI/ECDPM, 2015.
- Understanding Mozambique’s growth through an employment lens, UNU-WIDER, 2015.
- Work in Progress. Productive employment and transformation in Uganda, ODI/ECDPM, 2015.
- Unleashing the Employment Potential of the Middle East and North Africa, The World Bank Group, 2015.
- Which firms create the most jobs in developing countries? Evidence from Tunisia, The World Bank, 2014.
- Rural Wages in Asia, ODI, 2014.
- Structural change in Ethiopia: An employment perspective, The World Bank, 2014.
- Challenges for achieving job-rich and inclusive growth in Mongolia, ILO, 2011.
- Are labour-intensive industries generating employment in India? Evidence from firm level surveys, The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Vol 52/3, 2009.
Constraints and solutions to employment in developing countries
The Impact of the Business Environment
- Investment Climate Reforms and Job Creation in Developing Countries; What Do We Know and What Should We Do? The World Bank, September 2014.
- Employment, unemployment and underemployment in Africa, UNU-WIDER, 2014.
- Stunted growth: Why don’t African firms create more jobs?, World Bank Policy, 2013.
- Business environment, economic agglomeration and job creation around the world, The World Bank, 2013.
- Constrained Gazelles. High Potentials in West Africa’s Informal Economy, ISS, 2012.
- Big constraints to small firms’ growth? Business environment and employment growth across firms. Economic Development and Cultural Change Vol. 59(3), 2011.
- The impact of investment climate on employment growth: Does Sub-Saharan African mirror other low-income regions?, The World Bank, 2010.
- The effect of business registration reform on entrepreneurial activity in Mexico, The World Bank, 2008.
The role of structural transformation and industrial development
- Topic Guide: Urbanisation and Economic Development: Private Sector Linkages, EPS PEAKS / ODI, February 2016.
- What are the features of urbanisation and cities that promote productivity, employment and salaries? EPS PEAKS, 2014.
- Aid, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Africa, UNU WIDER, 2014.
- Non-farm Entrepreneurship in Rural Africa: Patterns and Determinants, IZA, 2014.
- Kingombe Structural transformation and employment creation: the role of growth facilitation policies in Sub-Sahara Africa, ODI, 2012.
- Productivity Growth and Job Creation in the Development Process of Industrial Clusters, Japan National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, 2012.
- Rural Development Strategies as a Path to Decent Work and Reducing Urban Informal Employment: The Case of South Africa, ILO, 2012.
- Africa-BRICS Cooperation. Implications for growth, employment and structural transformation in Africa, UNECA, 2013.
- Chinese Investments and Employment Creation in Algeria and Egypt, African Development Bank, 2012.
The Potential of Skills and Innovation
- The impact of SENAI’s vocational training programme on employment, wages, and mobility in Brazil, IRIBA, 2014.
- Innovation and productivity change in low-income countries. A brief overview of policy and academic debates, ODI, 2013.
- Skills Development Pathways in Asia, OECD/ LEED, 2013.
- Innovation, Employment and Skills in Advanced and Developing Countries. A Survey of the Literature, IZA, 2012.
Small and large enterprises in job creation
- Is Small Beautiful? Small Enterprise, Aid and Employment in Africa. African Development Review, 2015.
- Small and medium-sized enterprises and decent and productive employment creation, ILO, 2015.
- Who creates jobs in developing countries?, in Small Business Economics, 2014. Article Abstract
- Firm Dynamics, Productivity Growth and Job Creation in Developing Countries: The role of Micro and Small Enterprises, The World Bank, 2013.
Job quality: promoting ‘decent work’ and productive employment
- Market systems and job quality: what do we know and what we can do about it? ILO, 2017.
- SDC e&i network resources on social aspects of work.
- The Business Case for Quality Jobs – Evidence from Better Work, ILO and IFC, 2014.
- Informal Workers in Global Horticulture and Commodities Value Chains. Literature review, WIEGO, 2013.
- The quality of employment and decent work: definitions, methodologies and ongoing debates, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2013.
Interventions to support employment creation
Overviews and systematic reviews
- A Literature Review of Labour Market Impacts of Value Chain Interventions, LEI Wageningen UR, 2014.
- Interventions for employment creation in micro, small and medium sized enterprises. A systematic review, for KfW, 2014.
- A summary of the systematic review can be found in OECD DAC Evaluation Insights (May 2014): Creating Jobs in Small Businesses.
Practical tools for employment interventions
- Measuring productive employment: a “how to” note, ILO, 2017.
- Measuring Total Employment Effects: a lean data methodology for a portfolio of investments in developing countries. CDC, 2017.
- A Systematic Framework for Measuring Employment Impacts of Development Cooperation Interventions, BMZ/ GIZ, 2015.
- Measuring Job Creation in Private Sector Development, MarketShare Associates for DCED, 2014.