The challenges of the recovery of employment in the country

The challenges of the recovery of employment in the country

Recently, Dane presented its labor market report for March 2022. There it reported that the unemployment rate in the country was 12.1%. A figure that decreased compared to what was registered in 2021, but that is still far from pre-pandemic levels.

(Read: Labor Day: the profile of Colombians who cannot find a job).

However, the labor market has also been impacted by the increase in social remuneration, which had a significant increase by 2022. Between 2011 and 2021 the population of working age has grown 3 million people. But in that same time, only 317 thousand people have been employed.

This means that although the productive population grows, the country does not generate new places of employment, according to the National Trade Union School. Thus, the country’s unemployment rate has remained above 10% most of the time (only the years from 2014 to 2017 dropped to 9%), rising in 2020 to 16% as a result of Covid-19, and dropped just 2 % in 2021, remaining at 14%.

Another challenge is the labor informality which is calculated from the social security contributions of the employed population. At least half are listed. However, by 2021, 59% of employed people did not have formal employment contracts.

The organization assures that this has meant that in Colombia the job instability. “Fixed-term contracts grow at the same rate as indefinite-term contracts, between 2011-2021 they have represented around 33% and 66%, without significant variations,” they explain.

In this sense, despite the increase in the minimum wage, the average salary does not grow the same and, on the contrary, decreases. “One of the situations that the Ministry of Labor has not yet fully guaranteed is the legality of labor relations: from 2019 to 2021, and according to what is reported in the GEICH (DANE), there are around 8% of people (more or less a million workers) with illegality in the contractual relationship, even having a written employment contract, employers do not contribute severance pay to the funds“, argues the National Trade Union School.

(Besides: Almost 13 million Colombians eat two or fewer times a day).

For women the challenge is even greater. For them the recovery of employment has been more difficult than for men. While women have been around 40% of the workforce in the last three years, they are 62% of unpaid family workers and 94% of domestic workers.


The National Trade Union School assures that it is important, facing the presidential elections, to promote ato productive policy that diversifies production and the generation of wealth in the country.

At the same timegenerate new jobs, overcome informality understood as a structural problem. Also think about the protection of the minimum wage, because according to them, the increase in this is absorbed by inflation. Likewise, they suggest that the State strengthen inspection and surveillance instruments, as well as guarantee that companies comply with the law in their contracts.


The organization also explains that it is necessary strengthen safety and health at work. Also, labor formalization and basic income “must be addressed in a deeper and less conjunctural way”

At the same time, it is urgent to design policies that seek to generate employment not only by financing payrolls, but also by stimulating companies to create jobs. Along with this, expose the instruments recommended by the Employment Mission.


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