Regional: Quality Jobs and the Future of Work

Sovereign Project | 54100-001

This knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will strengthen the capacity of developing member countries (DMCs) to facilitate access to quality jobs. The TA will (i) develop new directions for social protection in labor markets, (ii) develop effective approaches for skills development and job facilitation, and (iii) initiate a coherent approach to facilitating quality jobs for DMCs through Asian Development Bank (ADB) operations.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    Van der Auwera, Michiel
    Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department
    Request for information
  • Country/Economy
  • Sector
    • Public sector management
Project Name Quality Jobs and the Future of Work
Project Number 54100-001
Country / Economy Regional
Papua New Guinea
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 6533-REG: Quality Jobs and the Future of Work
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 1.50 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Knowledge solutions
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Education / Technical and vocational education and training

Public sector management / Social protection initiatives

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming

This knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will strengthen the capacity of developing member countries (DMCs) to facilitate access to quality jobs. The TA will (i) develop new directions for social protection in labor markets, (ii) develop effective approaches for skills development and job facilitation, and (iii) initiate a coherent approach to facilitating quality jobs for DMCs through Asian Development Bank (ADB) operations.

The TA is in line with the Strategy 2030 operational plan for priority 1, pillar 2, which underlines the importance of quality jobs in addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequality. With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic resulting in lockdowns and halts to economic activities, progress made toward job growth and poverty reduction is critically at risk. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that employment for 125 million full-time workers in Asia and the Pacific will be lost in the second quarter of 2020, with tourism, retail, and manufacturing being most affected. ADB estimated that this would lead 34.3 million people to fall into extreme poverty. The TA is included in the 2020 Management-approved results-based work plan of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Facilitating increased access to quality jobs is essential for creating a region without poverty and with reduced inequality. Asia and the Pacific has experienced rapid economic progress over the past 25 years, creating 30 million jobs annually and contributing to significant improvements in living standards. The growth in jobs has been accompanied by improved productivity, higher earnings, and large reductions in poverty. Despite continued economic growth (4.6% in 2019) and a relatively low unemployment rate (4.4% in 2019), developing Asia's job challenge is far from over. While new jobs were created rapidly as part of economic growth, they have not always been quality jobs that provide a secure and stable source of income, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable. Moreover, several structural weaknesses in the labor market threaten the progress that has been made. The share of youth not in employment, education, or training is on the rise, reaching 24.3% in 2019; and labor underutilization was 10.3% in 2019. Importantly, two-thirds of the workforce remain in the informal sector, while 4.2% of workers in the region continue to live in extreme poverty and another 14.6% live in moderate poverty. Gender disparities in labor force participation also continue to persist, particularly in South Asia (23.2% among women compared with 76.9% among men in 2019). Pandemic-related job losses disproportionately harm workers with basic levels of education. Additional and concerted efforts are required to create inclusive and quality jobs to prevent long-term damage, especially to the most vulnerable, including women, youth, migrant workers, and informal economy workers.

A major challenge for Asian economies is to cope with structural changes and disruptions in job markets. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a massive disruption in the labor market, with significant immediate and longer term social and economic implications, affecting both workers and enterprises. Even before the current crisis, technological advances, demographic changes, climate change, and migration were disrupting jobs and the skills employees need to do them, leaving many workers with less secure jobs, compounded by a structural shift from manufacturing to services. Technological disruptions can lead to job displacements and changing skill and task profiles, imposing hardship on workers, particularly female workers, who may not yet have the necessary skills to adapt to new tasks or access job opportunities in the new digital economy. New forms of employment are accompanied by less job security, requiring workers to potentially have several part-time, on-call, and temporary jobs to sustain income and livelihoods. Demographic changes are also visible in the region, with many countries in South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific experiencing a youth bulge, while other countries in East and Southeast Asia are witnessing rapid aging. Demographic changes are contributing to growth in migration (domestic and external) and expanding demand for skills and care services to support aging societies in the region and globally. Climate change is another major trend shaping the future of work, creating both challenges and opportunities, e.g., through green jobs. The COVID-19 crisis exacerbates many of these structural changes in what was already a vulnerable and rapidly changing situation in the labor market for workers in developing Asia.

Improved social protection systems are needed to address growing labor market imperfections, and support workers' access to quality jobs. The labor market is increasingly unpredictable, with an increasing number of temporary jobs requiring an ever more skilled workforce. With long-term employment in decline, it is important to protect workers moving frequently between jobs. Income replacement protection is needed for fast-changing labor markets with frequent spells of unemployment, together with skilling and re-skilling support, and job facilitation allowing workers to move between jobs during their working life. During the lockdown period of the COVID-19 crisis, the role of social protection to lessen the impacts of shocks and to provide temporary income support has been highlighted. Social protection measures have taken the form of wage subsidies to employers (on the condition that the worker remains employed), unemployment benefits, targeted cash transfers to individuals who lost their jobs because of the lockdown, and food support to families. Social protection support during COVID-19 is building on existing programs or creating new ones. Worldwide, countries are spending an average of $44 per capita on the COVID-19 social protection response. Countries with large informal economies, low social protection coverage, and weak or no social registries are struggling to put in place adequate responses to the shock. During the transition and recovery periods, social protection systems will need to adapt to the _new normal,_ keeping in mind the likely continuation of social distancing measures, high unemployment (especially in highly impacted sectors), and low or even negative economic growth. This period will continue to affect those with less secure incomes and jobs disproportionately. Women are more likely to be excluded from any kind of social protection because of their concentration in informal jobs. Employment prospects of young workers are often more sensitive to fluctuations in demand. Other vulnerable groups include migrants, older workers, temporary or casual workers, and workers in new forms of employment including the gig economy. The challenge will be to get people who are able to work back into productive employment, while keeping the most vulnerable protected.

Training systems need to adapt to the future of work, and job facilitation needs to be enhanced for women and vulnerable groups. The extensive disruptions caused by COVID-19 have reinforced attention on the skills deficit. Adapting employees' skills and roles to post-pandemic work will be crucial for business resilience. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers or 14% of the global workforce would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence. After COVID-19, talent shortages in some new digital occupations may arise, making lack of digital skills more acute, which is particularly challenging for many women, given the digital skills gap. A survey conducted by the Everest Group in early 2020 found that 86% of enterprises considered the talent shortage a key barrier to achieving business outcomes even before the COVID-19 crisis. Digital transformation is inevitable and the COVID-19 response shows that digitalization will reach tipping points. Far greater investments in on-the-job training; upgrading of curriculums; and new, flexible credential systems are required to cope with changes. Singapore's SkillsFuture initiative is an example of skills development helping citizens to be productive, access higher order jobs, remain employable, and move to new jobs or roles. Training institutions need to become agile and versatile to service new occupations with new course offerings and _back-to-school_ programs for mid-career workers to re-skill and upskill. Skills development can help professionalize important segments such as the care economy. Real-time labor market information systems, digital and other solutions to job facilitation, and modernization of public employment exchanges will become increasingly crucial to address the needs of job seekers, including vulnerable workers and employers.

A coherent approach to facilitating quality jobs will amplify returns from infrastructure and other investments for DMCs. Job creation from investments in infrastructure can be reinforced through appropriate diagnostic tools. Economic and fiscal stimulus packages for inclusive post-COVID-19 recovery, including quality job creation, will mitigate job losses. Adequate jobs analysis in preparing infrastructure investments can boost job prospects from infrastructure assets. A good example of job creation from infrastructure is in the ADB-supported Visakhapatnam Chennai Industrial Corridor Development Program, linking infrastructure with employment growth, potentially generating 11 million additional jobs over 30 years. A coherent jobs approach toward infrastructure and related investments, with diagnostic tools that are gender-responsive to better understand demand- and supply-side constraints to quality jobs, will help policy makers develop appropriate strategies, including taking into account women's care burdens and the subsequent impacts on access to quality jobs. ADB can draw on the experience of other organizations, such as the World Bank and the ILO, to formulate approaches to quality jobs and develop contemporary tools for job facilitation, job matching, and job creation.

Impact Access to quality jobs improved
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome DMC capacity to facilitate access to quality jobs improved
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

New directions for social protection in labor markets developed

Effective approaches for skills development and job facilitation promoted

Coherent approach to facilitating quality jobs for DMCs initiated

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Bangladesh - Nation-wide; Georgia - Nation-wide; Indonesia - Nation-wide; Papua New Guinea - Nation-wide
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services ADB will engage the consultants following the ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time) and its associated project administration instructions and/or staff instructions.
Procurement not applicable
Responsible ADB Officer Van der Auwera, Michiel
Responsible ADB Department Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department
Responsible ADB Division SDTC-SOC
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines
Concept Clearance 07 Apr 2020
Fact Finding -
Approval 30 Jun 2020
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 03 Jul 2020

TA 6533-REG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
30 Jun 2020 - 30 Jun 2020 30 Jun 2023 - -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
1,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1,500,000.00 17 Jun 2022 77,238.85

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

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Title Document Type Document Date
Quality Jobs and the Future of Work: Technical Assistance Report Technical Assistance Reports Jun 2020

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.


Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Quality Jobs and the Future of Work - Consulting Firm Firm - Consulting Closed 16 Jun 2021 15 Jul 2021
Quality Jobs and the Future of Work - Youth Employment Expert Individual - Consulting Closed 24 Dec 2020 30 Dec 2020

Contracts Awarded

Contract Title Approval Number Contract Date Contractor | Address Executing Agency Total Contract Amount (US$) Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)
Capacity Development Technical Assistance Technical Assistance 6533 23 Feb 2022 Pricewaterhousecoopers Pvt. Ltd. (INDIA) in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Papua New Guinea | 8-2-624/A/1, 4th Floor, Road No.10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500 034 India Asian Development Bank 519,900.00

Procurement Plan

None currently available.