Jobs and Skills in Ghana: What types of jobs have been created and where? (Part 3)

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Nicholas Nsowah-Nuamah and Moses Awoonor-Williams, Ghana Statistical Service, and Francis Teal (presenter), University of Oxford

Poverty has halved in Ghana over the period from 1991 to 2005. We use the household surveys to investigate possible mechanisms which led to this outcome. In particular how was it linked to the creation of jobs and skills? While in the 1990s the pattern of a growth in urban sector self-employment is clear this process was reversed in the period to 2005. By 2005/06 it had fallen to 18.6 per cent of the working age population, substantially lower than the level of the early 1990s. The fall in urban self-employment was matched by a rise in wage employment in small firms which doubled as a percentage of the workforce from 3.4 to 6.7 per cent. Over the whole period from 1991/92 to 2005/06 the most striking change in the labour force was the rise in employment in small firms, from 225,000 to 886,000. Quite contrary to the perception that wage jobs are not being created they have been expanding far faster than the growth of the labour force. We also find that over the period from 1998/99 to 2005/06 real incomes rose by in excess of 50 per cent and that this rise was fastest in the lowest paying occupation. There was some shift from lower to higher paying occupations but it would appear that the income rises, which underlie the fall in poverty, were uniformly high across all sectors and particularly benefited the unskilled. We compare how skills acquired in technical education and through apprenticeship training have impacted on the types of jobs and their earnings and thus on their role in reducing poverty.

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