The world of work is changing profoundly, at a time when the global economy is not creating a sufficient number of jobs. The ILO estimates that global unemployment figures reached 201 million in 2014, over 30 million higher than before the start of the global crisis in 2008. Moreover, providing jobs to more than 40 million additional people who enter the global labour market every year is proving to be a daunting challenge. In addition to widespread joblessness, the employment relationship itself is facing a major transformation that is bringing further challenges.

This report reveals a shift away from the standard employment model, in which workers earn wages and salaries in a dependent employment relationship vis-à-vis their employers, have stable jobs and work full time. In advanced economies, the standard employment model is less and less dominant. In emerging and developing economies, there has been some strengthening of employment contracts and relationships but informal employment continues to be common in many countries and, at the bottom of global supply chains, very short-term contracts and irregular hours are becoming more widespread (see Chapters 1 and 5 of this volume).

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