Organized by the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, in cooperation with the Haigazian University Continuing Education Center and the support of the Danmission Middle East, a webinar on Covid and the World of Work took place on October 20, 2021, having as keynote Speaker Mr. Jad Yassin from the Regional Office for the Arab States of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Yassin started his talk by giving a general overview of the damages caused by the Covid crisis worldwide, with working hours decreasing by 8.8%, the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs. According to the ILO estimates, damages were the heaviest on a handful of sectors, such as the accommodation and food services, the real estate, business, and administrative activities, the manufacturing and the wholesale and retail trade, where workers were at a higher risk of layoffs or reduction of wages and/or hours of work.
Yassin also explained the drawbacks Covid had on women and the youth, stating that women suffered disproportionate job losses in 2020, in addition to being highly exposed to health risks as they were in high demand in the healthcare sector. For their part, the youth were hard hit too by unemployment according to ILO research. On a more serious note, the youth had to halt their education and join the labour force in an attempt to provide financial assistance for their families, hence for many not resuming back their education, Yassin said.
Yassin moved on to elaborate more on remote work arrangements during the pandemic; as per the ILO estimates, 557 million workers worked from home during the second quarter of 2020, accounting for 17.4 per cent of the world’s employment. According to him, remote working was less feasible for the smaller companies and third world countries, where financial constraints, fewer technological and digital literacy and resources put them at a disadvantage as they tried to cope with new technologies.
Yassin concluded his insightful talk sharing some recommendations for the post Covid recovery process. “While the return to a strong GDP growth is necessary, it is not likely to be sufficient in itself to prevent scarring and the loss of considerable human and economic potential, that is why throughout the pandemic, we have urged governments to develop, through social dialogue, human-centred recovery strategies that promote the broadest possible enhancement of productive employment, income and security within their countries’ societies”, said Yassin.
The webinar concluded with an interactive Q & A session that was moderated by the University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian.
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