About the Research Department

The Research Department of the ILO conducts research on labour and employment issues with the aim of contributing to policy formulation for ILO constituents. The department is currently investigating the consequences for decent work of major transformative changes related to new technologies, inequalities and demographic shifts, climate change and trade and global supply chains. During 2022-23, joining with wider research across the ILO (field offices and other policy departments), the department seeks to conduct new research on “frontier issues”, designed to generate innovative policy thinking for a human-centred future of decent work and guided by the needs of ILO constituents. The Research Department produces the ILO’s annual Flagship publication, “World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO): Trends”, and is home to the ILO’s peer-reviewed academic journal, the International Labour Review. It also publishes widely in different formats, including ILO major reports, research briefings, academic journal papers, working papers, collaborative reports with academics and other policy organisations and is present in social media.

Labour market trends and outlook

Providing a global overview of recent trends in employment, unemployment, labour force participation, productivity, as well as different dimensions of job quality, such as vulnerable employment and working poverty. Special issues of youth and gender are also covered.

Macroeconomic Policies and jobs

Monitoring, evaluating and recommending macro-economic policy choices for the labour market. Model-based and statistical methods are used to provide inputs and develop scenarios for ILO-wide efforts such as G20 meetings, the Future of Work Initiative as well as collaboration with other international organizations.

Work, Incomes and Equity

Research areas include inequality, social security, poverty, employment quality and related comparative labour law research, particularly within the context of the SDGs. One of the current research topics centres on the transition to a green economy.

Globalization and labour markets

Analysing the labour and social market implications of globalization for workers and enterprises. The research areas include firm dynamics, trade, labour standards and global supply chains – all with the aim of advancing social justice.

Changing World of Work

Analysing profound changes taking place in society including technology, innovation, demography, organization of work and production, work and society, and how they shape the world of work.

Policy evaluation

Analysing different labour market policies or programmes that have been implemented in different countries to better understand what works best and under which circumstances (mostly through impact evaluations).

Effective Labour Institutions

Analysing the effectiveness of labour institutions across countries, industrial relations systems, and groups of workers, with special attention to migrant workers. Using the latest data science methods, current research focuses on labour compliance and the digital transformation of work.

International Labour Review

The International Labour Review is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal of international scope in labour and employment studies.  It aims to advance academic research and inform policy debate and decision-making in all fields related to the world of work by publishing and bringing together the original thinking of academics and experts in those fields.