Report in Short: Small business matters


SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS How relevant are micro and small
enterprises for the future of work? And what about the self-employed? Until recently,
relatively limited worldwide evidence was able to answer this question. So in order to tackle this challenge, the ILO has created a new database, based on national household
and labour force surveys from 99 countries across the world. What we wanted to discover
is where the jobs really are… and because these surveys
target people rather than firms, we were able to capture what is usually excluded
by typical enterprise surveys such as self-employment,
micro enterprises, agriculture and the informal economy. We discovered that
“small economic units”, which are basically enterprises
with up to 49 employees, account for the largest share
of total employment, a staggering 70%. In low income countries, in fact,
the smallest economic units – the self-employed
and micro enterprise alone, make up approximately
90% of total employment. To our knowledge, this is the first time
that the employment contribution of the self-employed,
micro and small enterprises has been estimated for such
a large group of countries – in particular, for low- and
medium-income countries. And what about informality? Well, across the 99 countries
in our sample, 62% of total employment is to be
found in the informal sector. So, while the contribution
of small economic units to worldwide total employment
is very important, they unfortunately also
face big challenges such as widespread informality, gender pay gaps, low productivity, and worse working conditions. Understanding the reality faced
by these small economic units and then systematically
and strategically addressing those challenges is therefore key
to employment creation, job quality improvements
and the overall future of work. Do you want to know more? Check out the new ILO report
“Small Matters”… because actually, it does!

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