What is a good job?

What is a good job?

The vast majority of individuals are of the opinion that a decent job is one that provides a satisfactory income, manageable working hours, a wholesome and risk-free working environment, and additional advantages such as social insurance. Even if this profile makes a lot of sense when seen from the standpoint of an individual, it does not necessarily inform policymakers what the priority should be for their national work plans. Those occupations should be prioritized because they bring the most value to society and make the greatest contribution to the economic and social growth of a nation. It's possible that these "excellent occupations for development" seem quite similar to the ones that were highlighted before. However, there are situations in which a profession that is beneficial for the person could not be beneficial for the growth of society. Consider some of the high-paying but unnecessary positions that exist in the government or in protected industries, as well as those in activities that contribute to the degradation of the environment.

The circumstances of a nation and the obstacles to growth that it must surmount both have a role in determining what constitutes a suitable job for development. Consider the situation of nations that have significant young populations but also high rates of youth unemployment. This is an accurate description of Tunisia as well as numerous other nations located in the Middle East and North Africa. The cost of this youth unemployment has undoubtedly been enormous in terms of both the economy and society, and it is difficult to conceive of anything that would benefit these nations more than positions that are suited for these young people to fill. Within the framework of this discussion, they are unquestionably valuable career opportunities.

Or consider economically disadvantaged nations, particularly those located in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Mozambique, where subsistence agriculture continues to play a dominant role in the economy, and where alleviating poverty is the most pressing concern. The best occupations in these kinds of environments are the ones that provide farmers access to the kinds of technologies and markets that will boost their levels of production and revenue. Or, they may be non-farming positions in other parts of the value chain in agriculture, or low-skilled jobs in urban sectors that will stimulate structural upgrading in the economy. Either way, these occupations will be the cause of an improvement in the economy.

In other situations, "good employment" that fuel growth appear substantially differently from what they do here. For instance, nations that are wealthy in resources have the potential to produce a lot of money; nevertheless, in order to achieve equitable development, they need to utilize this prosperity properly. The number of resource-rich nations that have been able to successfully implement this strategy is woefully inadequate. But for Papua New Guinea and many other resource-rich developing countries, investing some of the revenues from those resources in jobs in education and health would result in the creation of good jobs of a sort that would contribute to sustainable development. This is true for many other resource-rich developing countries as well.

To give you another illustration, small island nations like Saint Lucia need to overcome obstacles related to remoteness and scale in order for jobs that strengthen connections with large offshore markets to have positive development spillovers. One such nation is the Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia. Conflict resolution, growing urbanization, and an aging population are just a few of the distinct issues that other nations must confront. These challenges are very diverse from one another. Because of this, the kinds of work that will be necessary to contribute to progress in various contexts will take on quite diverse forms.

However, there are times when our traditional conception of a successful work is suitable, not just from the viewpoint of the person, but also from the viewpoint of the society as a whole. One instructive case in point is Mexico. People in these and other developing countries, who are grappling with the difficulties of formalization, are looking for occupations that provide them with a voice, benefits, and social protection—traits that are characteristic of the great majority of jobs in developed, high-income economies. The creation of jobs with these characteristics will be beneficial to the people who hold them, but it will also have positive spillovers for society. These positive spillovers will take the form of a reduction in the dualism between the labor market and social policy, as well as economic gains that will result from improved social risk management.

As we can see, the landscape of desirable employment varies greatly from nation to country. However, as the aforementioned examples demonstrate, this is really the first stage in the process of formulating a jobs strategy that will propel growth. The second step is to identify the obstacles that are preventing the creation of an adequate number of decent employment for development, and then to take steps to relieve these obstacles via the implementation of policy.

Growth of the economy is essential in nearly every environment, and in many circumstances, the greatest plan for creating jobs is simply a growth strategy. In other circumstances, however, the most effective tactic for a task may necessitate doing activities that are a significant departure from traditional methods. If we take the situation in Tunisia as an example, which has a very high youth unemployment rate, the answer is not greater growth or better education; rather, it is changes in governance and more competitive product marketplaces, both of which offer up prospects for the young. In agricultural cultures such as Mozambique, employment plans should incorporate sector policies in agriculture that boost production and basic education to prepare people for work in other industries. In other settings, job strategies may include the administration of sovereign wealth funds, migration, social protection programs, urban policy, gender policy, and so on and so forth.

In the end, employment is an issue that should occupy a more fundamental position in our thinking about economic and social growth. It is through employment that individuals and families are able to raise their quality of living, employees and businesses are able to become more productive, and people are able to develop a significant portion of their identity. Important social and economic ripple effects are caused, in part, by the establishment of high-quality employment opportunities within the context of a given nation.


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