The jobs and livelihoods sector has transformed significantly over the past decade, and is expected to see even greater shifts in the coming years. Population shifts given the youth bulge, climate, conflict and urbanization are driving challenges overall, while the changing nature of work in the form of automation and digitization is negatively impacting lower value-added manufacturing and emerging digital jobs.

These shifts are expected to exacerbate the youth employment challenges, the currently over 210M people out of work, and the more than 1.4 billion people in vulnerable and poor quality employment — with disproportionate negative effects in Africa and South Asia.

The World Bank and global governments are focusing on jobs and livelihoods as the most critical pathway to eliminating poverty (SDG 1) and driving sustainable economic growth (SDG 8). In this paper, GDI Director Alice Gugelev brings forth opportunities that have the potential to transform systems to create sustainable jobs across the value chain, despite the challenging dynamics of shifting populations and evolving nature of work.