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Unlocking untapped potential to build an inclusive labour market

12 Feb 2024
People 1st International

The need for inclusive labour markets has never been more critical. With talent shortages reaching a record high of 40% globally in 2023 according to ManpowerGroup, businesses are recognising the potential and importance of untapped talent pools.


The opportunity

Globally, 2 billion individuals remain outside the labour force, representing a vast reserve of potential talent (World Bank, 2023). This includes groups like:

  • Youth – nearly 213 million young people between the ages of 15-24 are in 2022 were unemployed (United Nations, 2023). Investing in youth employment through skilling, entrepreneurship support, and job creation initiatives remains crucial
  • Older adults – over 40% of the inactive population in many regions are above 50, highlighting the need for age-friendly workplaces and flexible work arrangements (AARP, 2023)
  • Women – women represent a significant portion of the inactive population, offering a valuable opportunity to bridge the gender gap and leverage their skills and experience (McKinsey Global Institute, 2023)
  • Individuals facing barriers – this group may include those with disabilities, caregiving responsibilities, or limited access to education or training


Key strategies for businesses

  • Embrace age diversity: Implement flexible work arrangements, remote work options, and supportive workplace policies to attract and retain older workers.
  • Empower women: Focus on closing the gender pay gap, offering childcare support, and addressing unconscious bias to attract and retain female talent.
  • Partner with local organisations: Collaborate with training providers and community groups to connect with potential candidates facing barriers.
  • Develop targeted programmes: Offer reskilling and upskilling opportunities tailored to the specific industry needs and skill gaps that support employment into the business such as pre-employment and returner programmes.
  • Champion collaboration: Work with government agencies, educational institutions, and support organisations to build a more inclusive ecosystem.


News and trends for 2024 and beyond

  • Mental health and wellbeing – programmes supporting individuals with mental health challenges are gaining traction, recognising the impact on economic inactivity (, 2023)
  • Reskilling and upskilling – as automation and technology evolve, continuous skills development is crucial. Initiatives providing reskilling and upskilling opportunities are becoming increasingly important (World Economic Forum, 2023)
  • Remote work revolution – the rise of remote work arrangements expands opportunities for individuals facing geographical or mobility limitations, further contributing to inclusivity (FlexJobs, 2023)

Building an inclusive labour market is not just ethical but also strategic. By embracing diverse talent pools, businesses can unlock new growth opportunities, enhance innovation, and build a more resilient workforce. The ongoing dialogue and collaborative efforts pave the way for a more inclusive and prosperous future for all.

To discover how we can support your business, region, sector or economy to develop a strategy to support inclusive employment, get in touch today.

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