The second most populous country in Africa; Ethiopia has one of the great pressures to create jobs for its skilled and unskilled job seekers. The country has been actively engaged in the growth of employment as part of its initiative to poverty reduction. While, the International Labour Organization (ILO) supports the country through the promotion of decent employment and enhancement of labour market governance for sustainable growth.
The concept of decent work is to mean a work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace, social protection for families, and freedom for people to express their concerns as well as organize and participate in decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. Over the last two decades numerous reforms have been adopted in Ethiopia aiming to eradicate poverty and achieve over all development and growth. The country crafted the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP) which focus on scarce resources to key sectors with a view to accelerating poverty reduction through higher production and productivity.
Although growth and improvements are observed in Ethiopia’s labour market, the country still struggles to create sufficient jobs to meet the growing labour force demand. A high proportion of employment opportunities are still being created in the informal sector, while unemployment remains a particular challenge for women and young people in urban areas. Most Ethiopian household’s income is either limited to basic needs or less to fully meet even the basic needs. Overall earnings in paid employment outside agriculture have risen, the low pay rate of workers with monthly earnings below two thirds of the median for non-agricultural work indicates persistent wage inequalities between men and women mainly due to cultural norms and values that limit women’s educational and labour market opportunities ILO reveals.
Reports say like most countries in Africa in Ethiopia as well the share of working poor declined considering the ratio of population growth and opportunities for employment. On the other hand the earnings of a large proportion of the Ethiopian households remain inadequate. Despite the challenges the country pro labour law providers ample protection to the labour force. A maximum working time of eight hours a day and 48 hours per week is set out for workers. However the laws did stipulate a minimum pay leaving it open for negotiations between the employer and employee. This has made salary disparity among the people with similar qualification, experience and job post allowing the better negotiator to be the highest paid. The country perceives job creation is part of a sustainable development policy and strategy that aims for poverty reduction. The Growth and Transformation Plan aspires that growth will help create jobs and raise incomes, thus resulting eradication of poverty Alexander Burtenshaw country manager of Jumia Travel Ethiopia said.
As the world celebrates the achievements of labour unions and the 8 hour working hour rule promoting reasonable wages, breaks, and paid vacation; Ethiopia joined the celebration of Labour Day on 1st of May 2017 to honour the many labour force aiming for better strategies to create more job opportunities. Currently the Labour Day originated in the United States during the Labour Movement that started in the state of Illinois is now celebrated in over 90 countries for centuries. The day also resembles the basic rights of all employees in the workplace including the right to privacy, fair compensation, and freedom from discrimination. A job applicant also has certain rights even prior to being hired as an employee. Those rights include the right to be free from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, or religion during the hiring process.