A new programme includes measures to reduce the unemployment rate to 6.98% by 2021

Unemployment is one of the main concerns stated by Ecuadorians. This is not surprising given that, of the almost 8 million people who are working, more than half, 4,100,000 people, are not covered by social security, guarantees or labour benefits. In addition, 303,000 are unemployed; mainly young people aged 18 to 29 (188,000).

These figures have led the Government to introduce a national employment policy that seeks to promote job opportunities and reduce the rate of unemployment, underemployment and informal employment in the country. This initiative has been developed with young people in mind, a group of the population that is “absolutely unprotected” according to the Minister of Labour, Raúl Ledesma. The purpose of the proposed measures is to reduce the unemployment rate from 10.43% (2016 figures) to 6.98% by 2021. In other words, reduce unemployment by 3.45% in five years.

The plan includes a youth contract, which seeks to encourage the hiring of 60,000 young people aged 18 to 25 until 2021. Through this contract, the State will grant tax incentives to more than 250,000 employers to hire workers at half of the cost of the labour market. Ledesma stated that this measure will prioritise agriculture (24%), trade (20%), manufacturing (13%) and construction (9%).

My first job

Another policy announced is the ‘My first job’ programme, which will seek to provide young graduates or people in their last year at university access to their first work experience. The goal is to introduce 23,507 young people each year to the job market (22,087 in the private sector and 1,420 in the public sector) through six-month job experience plans.

In addition, seven new contracts will make it possible to legalise the tourist, agricultural, aquaculture, flower growing, livestock, construction and art industries. In the hotel business, the plan will enable more than 236,000 workers to have access to a formal contract with all the benefits of the law.
In the first months of the year, more than 100,000 new contracts have been registered with the Ministry of Labour.