Covid-19 Impact on Employment and Skills for the Labour Market

1st February 2021
Author: Sue Enfield

This literature review draws from academic and grey literature, published largely as institutional reports and blogs. Most information found considered global impacts on employment and the labour market with the particular impact for the very high numbers of youth, women, migrant workers, and people with disabilities who are more likely to be employed in the informal sector. There has been a high negative impact on the informal sector and for precariously employed groups. The informal labour market is largest in low and middle-income countries and engages 2 billion workers (62 percent) of the global workforce (currently around 3.3 billion). Particularly in low- and middle-income countries, hard-hit sectors have a high proportion of workers in informal employment and workers with limited access to health services and social protection. Economic contractions are particularly challenging for micro, small, and medium enterprises to weather. Reduced working hours and staff reductions both increase worker poverty and hardship. Women, migrant workers, and youth form a major part of the workforce in the informal economy since they are more likely to work in these vulnerable, low-paying informal jobs where there are few protections, and they are not reached by government support measures. Young people have been affected in two ways as many have had their education interrupted; those in work these early years of employment (with its continued important learning on the job) have been interrupted or in some cases ended.

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Suggested Citation

Enfield, S., (2021). Covid-19 impact on employment and skills for the labour market. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.081


1st February 2021


Continent: Global

Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines