Vulnerable employment, total (% of total employment)

Definition: Vulnerable employment is unpaid family workers and own-account workers as a percentage of total employment.

Description: The map below shows how Vulnerable employment, total (% of total employment) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Burundi, with a value of 93.70. The country with the lowest value in the world is Qatar, with a value of 0.20.

Source: International Labour Organization, Key Indicators of the Labour Market database.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Four targets were added to the UN Millennium Declaration at the 2005 World Summit High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly. One was full and productive employment and decent work for all, which is seen as the main route for people to escape poverty. Vulnerable employment (proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment) is a key measure to monitor whether a country is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. The proportion of unpaid family workers and own account workers in total employment is derived from information on status in employment. Each status group faces different economic risks, and unpaid family workers and own-account workers are the most vulnerable - and therefore the most likely to fall into poverty. They are the least likely to have formal work arrangements, are the least likely to have social protection and safety nets to guard against economic shocks, and often are incapable of generating sufficient savings to offset these shocks. A high proportion of unpaid family workers in a country indicates weak development, little job growth, and often a large rural economy.

Limitations and Exceptions: Data on employment by status are drawn from labor force surveys and household surveys, supplemented by official estimates and censuses for a small group of countries. The labor force survey is the most comprehensive source for internationally comparable employment, but there are still some limitations for comparing data across countries and over time even within a country. Information from labor force surveys is not always consistent in what is included in employment. For example, information provided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development relates only to civilian employment, which can result in an underestimation of "employees" and "workers not classified by status," especially in countries with large armed forces. While the categories of unpaid family workers and self-employed workers, which include own account workers, would not be affected, their relative shares would be. Geographic coverage is another factor that can limit cross-country comparisons. The employment by status data for many Latin American countries covers urban areas only. Similarly, in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, where limited information is available anyway, the members of producer cooperatives are usually excluded from the self-employed category. For detailed information on definitions and coverage, consult the original source.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: This indicator is calculated by dividing the sum of contributing family workers and own-account workers by the number of total employment and multiplying the result by 100.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual