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Employment is no guarantee of escaping poverty, the International Labour Organization (ILO)

estimates that as many as 40% of workers as poor, not earning enough to keep their families
above the $2 a day poverty line.[25] For instance, in India most of the chronically poor are wage
earners in formal employment, because their jobs are insecure and low paid and offer no
chance to accumulate wealth to avoid risks.[25] According to the UNRISD, increasing labor
productivity appears to have a negative impact on job creation: in the 1960s, a 1% increase in
output per worker was associated with a reduction in employment growth of 0.07%, by the first
decade of this century the same productivity increase implies reduced employment growth by
0.54%.[25] Both increased employment opportunities and increased labor productivity (as long as
it also translates into higher wages) are needed to tackle poverty. Increases in employment
without increases in productivity leads to a rise in the number of "working poor", which is why
some experts are now promoting the creation of "quality" and not "quantity" in labor market
policies.[25] This approach does highlight how higher productivity has helped reduce poverty
in East Asia, but the negative impact is beginning to show.[25] In Vietnam, for example,
employment growth has slowed while productivity growth has continued.[25] Furthermore,
productivity increases do not always lead to increased wages, as can be seen in the United
States, where the gap between productivity and wages has been rising since the 1980s.[25]
Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute argue that there are differences
across economic sectors in creating employment that reduces poverty.[25] 24 instances of growth
were examined, in which 18 reduced poverty. This study showed that other sectors were just as
important in reducing unemployment, as manufacturing.[25] The services sector is most effective
at translating productivity growth into employment growth. Agriculture provides a safety net for
jobs and economic buffer when other sectors are struggling.[25]

Growth, employment and poverty[25]

Rising Rising Rising


Number
agricultural industrial services
of
employmen employmen employmen
episodes
t t t

Growth episodes associated with falling


18 6 10 15
poverty rates

Growth episodes associated with no fall


6 2 3 1
in poverty rates

An employees perception of internal growth and development


opportunities is one of the more important predictors of employee
engagement. Understanding this, we were disappointed to discover,
through our latest research, that the employee perception of internal
opportunities is the lowest it has ever been.

When employees were asked to rate their agreement with the following
statement: This company provides attractive opportunities for growth and
development, only 57% of employee responses were favorable. This is
20% below the overall engagement score average and is the lowest
measured score on this question to date.

Download: Sample Employee Engagement Survey

For organizations with particularly low scores on the statement, we took a


closer look. We found that the written comments surrounding growth and
development issues suggest that employees attach their perceptions of
opportunities for growth and development to promotions, increased pay,
and advancement prospects. In other words, career advancement and
promotions are what employees see as giving them growth and
development opportunities. Training and skill development alone appear to
be ineffective for increasing perceived opportunities for growth and
development. Employees see career advancement and promotion as most
representative of the companys development possibilities.

For many organizations, advancements and promotions can be likely


because of struggling business operations. Employees notice the decrease
in succession planninghence the drop in scores. Can you fix that? Can
you increase employee engagement when there are less opportunities for
career advancement?

Yes. Its possible. A number of organizations have maintained high scores


on perceived growth and development opportunities throughout economic
downturns. The key is to maintain opportunities for simple promotions and
growth within the company and communicate them regularly, even if theyre
small. For employees to sense opportunities for growth and development,
keep talking about development plans and succession planning. Maintain
communication about advancement opportunities on an organization-wide
level, and also through personal development meetings where the question
is asked, Where do you see yourself in this company five years from
now? and How can we help you get there?

Focus on small promotions, payment increases, and advancements. Keep


talking about career advancement. As the perceived growth and
development opportunities increase, so will your employee engagement.

Related Blog Post: Employee Satisfaction vs. Motivation and Employee


Engagement

Download: Sample Employee Engagement Survey

Charles Rogel
Charles is the Vice President of Products and Marketing at DecisionWise.
He has an extensive background in international sales and consulting. Prior
to DecisionWise, he worked for over 10 years in Sales and Marketing roles
at various software companies, including Modus Media International,
Parlant Technology, and Plato learning.View Bio

Read More by Charles Rogel