Fighting forced labour helps women beat poverty


Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Note: This entry was originally posted on The CNN Freedom Project blog 

Across the planet, about one in every seven of us lives in extreme poverty, having to survive on less than $1.25 a day. Every day, they and the millions more living just above the poverty line struggle to have enough to eat, and dream of a better life and of earning enough to provide for their families.

Geeta Devi was one of these people. Continue reading

Taking the uphill struggle for jobs to Davos

Guy Ryder

Guy Ryder

By Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Follow @GUYRYDER‘s tweets from #Davos

“Leading through adversity”, “The Economic Malaise and its Perils”, “Creating Economic Dynamism” – these are some of the panels taking place here in Davos at this year’s World Economic Forum.

For many of us here these discussions boil down to this: How can the battered global economy bounce back and stay strong?  Continue reading

Helping Youth Get Jobs: A Sound Investment

Guy Ryder

By Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization




Global youth unemployment has become a reservoir of wasted talent and a tinderbox of frustration.

With 75 million young people jobless around the world, tackling this crisis must be a key priority.

It’s no easy task. Youth unemployment is the sharpest edge of the global labour crisis and it’s also the toughest nut to crack. But it’s a challenge we must meet head on.

We have tried for quite some time to make the case about learning from countries that have youth guarantee schemes, and we should turn up the volume on this one.

The idea is to guarantee that a young person who is out of education and out of work is given a job or training, as well as counselling and guidance.

This is not a utopia. Such programmes have proved quite successful in Nordic countries as well as in Germany and Austria.

In these times of crisis, governments are obviously concerned about the additional spending, but they should bear in mind the far higher cost that would come from young unemployed people permanently losing touch with the labour market.

Youth guarantee schemes are affordable. Our research shows that they would cost less than half of one per cent of GDP in Eurozone countries. It’s a sound investment on which one can get very good returns very rapidly. In Sweden, for example, almost 50 per cent of young jobseekers got work or training as a result of the guarantee; in Norway, the success rate is even higher.

There’s also a lot to be learned from Germany’s dual education system, which combines a workplace apprenticeship and vocational training. This is not something that can be replicated wholesale elsewhere, but there are certainly lessons to be learned, elements that can be applied successfully.

And we need to give more weight to active labour market policies. Job placement, public employment services, investments in skills – all of these areas are tremendously underexploited.

All the evidence shows that if a young person is out of work for a year or more at the beginning of their career, that will affect them throughout their working life. There’s no way back for most of them.

The first thing to do is to get jobs moving globally and making sure young people get a good start in their working lives.

There is an expense and a loss of production in keeping people out of work, so let’s attack the problem at the source. We must act urgently, we must act now.


This blog entry was also published in The Huffington Post on October 1 2012

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