In his keynote address to the 2015 Economic and Social Council Integration Segment in New York on Monday, 30 March, International Organization of Employers (IOE) President Daniel Funes de Rioja underlined the urgency in addressing structural reforms and labor-market oriented training for increasing job opportunities, particularly for young people.
The opening panel, “The ‘Big Think’ on Jobs and Growth,” provided an overview of the current global economy within which an effective framework could be established for inclusive and balanced growth, with full employment as a macroeconomic policy objective.
While welcoming the successful labor market reforms undertaken by some governments, the IOE president called for the removal of regulatory barriers. He noted that greater workplace flexibility resulted in a win-win situation for both companies and the individuals they employed, with positive impacts on productivity, quality of work and employee retention.
Workplace flexibility also enhances the transition of enterprises from the informal to the formal economy, with higher employment rates being recorded in countries where companies, particularly SMEs, could adapt quickly to a rapidly changing world, Funes noted.
On the topic of ensuring adequate training systems, Funes said, “If there is a silver bullet to address youth unemployment, then it is high quality apprenticeship systems.” Despite this, IOE research had found that in many countries there were still significant skills mismatches.
To address this challenge, USCIB’s global network initiated the Global Apprenticeships Network (GAN), launched to promote exchanges of experience and best practice in the area of training and work-readiness programs around the globe.
Funes highlighted the value of national GAN networks, such as those recently launched by the Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TISK). He urged governments to support such initiatives by enabling the institutional and regulatory environment for companies to engage in offering apprenticeships, including by involving companies and employers’ organizations in the design and implementation of VET systems, and by promoting excellence in STEM subjects in schools.