Employment is called the generation of value from the activity produced by a person. That is, the employee contributes with his work and knowledge in favor of the employer, in exchange for an economic compensation known as salary .

The relationship of societies with respect to employment is one of the main indexes that measures their development. Thus, the most developed countries tend to full employment or, what is the same, that labor supply and demand reach equilibrium.

However, in not-so-developed nations unemployment abounds  , where workers do not get a job, and underemployment. The latter means that trained people must perform less qualified jobs, or work less hours than those they need or want.

It should also be explained that there is employment in black, where workers do not enjoy the benefits of labor laws, such as vacations, extra payments or compensation.

On the other hand, not everyone who uses their workforce does it for other people. Thus, there are individuals who work in their own business, which are the self-employed, who carry out their activity with a certain risk since the company can yield both benefits and losses.

Employment history

The current conception of the term “employment” is related to the arrival of the nineteenth century, when slavery was eradicated, typical of the dawn of Humanity, and servitude, typical of the Middle Ages. This, thanks to the recognition of freedom and respect for the physical and moral integrity of man.

It was in this period when the Industrial Revolution derived in many of the protections that safeguard the worker of our day. The replacement of labor by machinery had at first moment pernicious consequences in society, as long as it led to the misery of a large number of employees.

However, this underprivileged position of the worker led to the establishment of unions that looked after defending their interests.

Once the Second World War was over, the birth of the Welfare State took place – based on the theories of economist John Maynard Keynes -, where the workers, perfectly organized already in trade unions, managed to recognize what we know today as “ labor rights”.

From that moment, the employees began to enjoy vacations, pay, weekly rest days according to what was worked and days of no more than eight hours, while the wages of the time were visibly increased.

Shortly after, in 1948, the United Nations (UN) proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document in which employment is already conceived as an activity exercised by an individual, through his free choice.

At present, employment is a difficult circumstance to guarantee for the entire labor supply, which makes the states try to reduce the number of unemployed to a minimum and, ultimately, alleviate the negative consequences that arise from the situation.

Today’s job

According to the World Bank, the total active population includes people 15 years of age or older who meet the definition of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Thus, for the ILO, the economically active population groups all the people who contribute work for the production of goods and services during a specific period. It includes both people with jobs and unemployed people.

While national practices vary, in general, the active population includes the armed forces, the unemployed and those seeking their first job. However, those who are dedicated to home care and other unpaid employees are excluded.

by Abdullah Sam
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