The Bigger Job Context: The Low Job Quality, Skills Mismatch, Low Productivity, Low Job Creation Vortex

We cannot conclude this chapter on understanding job search and diverse job seekers in developing countries without acknowledging the obvious. Wouldn’t this all be a small transactional and informational problem if there were just enough good quality jobs in home countries? All developing countries, and many developed economies, face both a labor demand problem - too few, poor quality and low productivity jobs - and a supply problem - poorly prepared and poorly educated workforces to fit the demand. The demand and supply problems, and they are multiple, are not resolved by any one intervention, but they do put a limitation on any modest gains that can be made by improving and expanding the jobmatching process.

These supply and demand constraints take on very different national characteristics based on differences in population cohorts (youth bulge, aging population), education systems (skills development, relevance to employment), and economic growth patterns, to name but a few. This has led international institutions and donors to work on jobs “strategies” for individual countries, one-employment-size-fits-all now officially banished. Good job matches, however, cannot work well when workers have poor or the wrong skills (labor supply problems) or there are not enough or the wrong kind of jobs (labor demand problems). As will be clearer in subsequent chapters, labor intermediation services can play a supporting role in addressing the range of disconnections (e.g. skills, economic growth, education) that may contribute to the problem. Just a quick, admittedly too superficial, look down into the vortex into some labor supply and demand constraints.

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