Promoting inclusive economic growth and the fight against inequalities is a G20 priority that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is determined to advance during the German Presidency. For this reason, we have set four main areas to focus on in the context of the G20 Employment Working Group. This working group will prepare the final declaration to be adopted by the G20 labour and employment ministers in Bad Neuenahr on 18/19 May 2017.
Together with our G20 partners, we want to work out concrete options for action and policy recommendations to make significant progress in achieving our goal of inclusive, productive, and resilient labour markets. The areas we want to focus on are:
In addition to these four priorities, the cross-cutting issues of "promoting youth employment" and "strengthening social dialogue/social partnership" will be taken into consideration in each priority. For example, tailor-made support measures during vocational training would play an important role in the successful integration of young migrants.
In addition, social partners - employers and trade unions - will be more involved in the G20 consultation process. Their perspectives are indispensable when it comes to balancing economic and social interests - as Germany's experience with social dialogue shows over the decades.
Our choice of priorities is also a response to structural changes that affect G20 labour markets and require new policy answers: globalisation, digitization, migration, demographic change and cultural change. These changes present a number of opportunities to promote inclusive growth. However, active policy-making is essential to taking advantage of these opportunities.
One of the most important commitments made by the G20 is to lift the G20’s gross domestic product at an additional two percent by 2018 (G20 Leaders’ Communiqué, Brisbane Summit 2014). The G20 have also agreed that economic growth should be strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive. The term "inclusive" in this context means that economic growth should benefit all people in all countries - in particular groups that are at a disadvantage in the labour market such as women and young people. The aim is to create more decent work while combating poverty and inequality, so that no one is left behind. Acknowledging that overcoming social inequalities is a key challenge both in G20 countries and worldwide, the G20 has recently put even more emphasis on addressing this goal. (G20 Leaders' Communique, Hangzhou Summit 2016).
Under the Chinese Presidency in 2016, the G20 has also planned to take the global lead on the implementation of the United Nations' Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should serve as a future guide for action for the G20. These goals include ending poverty in all its forms everywhere (SDG 1), achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls (SDG 5), promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8), reducing inequality within and among countries (SDG 10) and ensuring responsible consumption and production patterns (SDG 12).
The G20 Taskforce on Employment (TFE) was established in September 2011 at the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers meeting in Paris to serve as a focal point for dialogue and information sharing on employment issues. In particular, its role centred on the economic and social aspects of employment policies and on the exchange of policy ideas and best practices.
The TFE was composed of representatives and experts from G20 member and guest countries and worked in close collaboration with social partners and relevant international organizations.
It was chaired by a shared presidency including the previous, incumbent and the following year’s G20 presidencies. The mandate of the TFE was extended during subsequent G20 Presidencies.
In 2014, taking into consideration the impact of TFE’s role on growth, labour, employment and social challenges, G20 Leaders agreed to the transformation of the TFE to an Employment Working Group (EWG) as an ongoing function at the recommendation of G20 Labour and Employment Ministers. The newly established EWG started its work in 2015 during Turkish presidency.
In 2012, TFE discussions focused on youth employment and quality apprenticeships. In 2013, its work focused on implementation of the G20 Leaders’ commitment to ‘promote growth and jobs’, including policy options on job creation and labour activation. This included the development of a database of best practice policies and action against past commitments. In 2014 TFE focused on the working themes of preventing structural unemployment, creating better jobs and boosting participation. Country-owned and country-specific employment plans were developed by each member for delivery to G20 Leaders at the Brisbane Summit in November 2014. In 2015, EWG discussed developing effective ways to ensure job-rich and inclusive growth, identifying policy options to reduce labour income inequality, addressing the mismatch between education and skills required by the labour market and setting-up an effective mechanism to follow-up the previous G20 commitments.