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Labour Market in Türkiye

Acute labour shortages in earthquake-stricken regions of Türkiye

ILO assessment reveals urgent labour market needs in the region badly hit by the earthquakes in eastern Türkiye earlier this year.

News | 28 August 2023
ANKARA (ILO News) – Six months on from the devastating earthquakes that killed tens of thousands of people in Türkiye, a report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) has called for Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) to be set up to address acute labour shortages in the affected region.

These programmes should focus on the employment of unskilled individuals and on-the-job training tailored to the region’s specific needs, the report says. Housing shortages must also be urgently addressed, as well as the restoration of essential public services.

More than 55,000 people were killed in the earthquakes, which hit south-eastern Türkiye and north-west Syria in February 2023.

The ILO study assessed the impact of the earthquakes on the labour market and potential recovery strategies in Türkiye. It examined how to plan an efficient rebuilding programme to generate income opportunities for the local labour force. It also identified the occupations that will grow the fastest, and the associated skills that will be needed.

According to the study, the region in Türkiye where the earthquakes hit contributed to nearly 10 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including from agricultural and forestry product exports.

The destruction caused by the earthquakes has led to increasing demand in the construction sector for debris removal and rebuilding. However, the region faces significant labour shortages, exacerbated by emigration and a rising demand for unskilled and low-skilled labour.

The region needs to attract and retain workers, particularly in agriculture and construction – sectors that will contribute to the recovery process, the report says. The safety and well-being of workforces must be ensured and special attention needs to be given to women, people with disabilities and the many Syrian refugees working in the informal sector.

Among several recommendations, the report calls for labour supply incentives, cash supports and wage subsidies.