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India records highest average real wage growth in South Asia, says ILO report

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As per a report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), India recorded the highest average real wage growth in South Asia during 2008-17.

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The ILO’s Global Wage Report 2018/19 said, “Reflecting more rapid economic growth than in other regions, workers in Asia and the Pacific have enjoyed the highest real wage growth among all regions over the period 2006-17, with countries such as China, India, Thailand and Viet Nam leading the way.”

“In South Asia, India led the average real wage growth in 200817 at 5.5 against a regional median of 3.7. Following India was Nepal (4.7), Sri Lanka (4), Bangladesh (3.4), Pakistan (1.8) and Iran (0.4),” the report added.

The report further said that all emerging G20 countries except Mexico experienced significant positive growth in average real wages between 2008 and 2017.

“Wage growth continues in Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia, whereas in Turkey it declined to around 1 percent in 2017,” the report said adding that South Africa and Brazil have experienced positive wage growth starting from 2016 after a phase of mostly zero growth during the period 2012-16, with negative growth in Brazil during 2015-16.

“Russia suffered a significant drop in wage growth in 2015, again owing to the decline in oil prices, but has since then bounced back with moderate though positive wage growth,” the report added.

The report by ILO also noted that a number of countries have recently undertaken measures to strengthen their minimum wage with a view to providing more adequate labour protection.

“Overall, global wage growth declined to 1.8 percent in 2017 from 2.4 percent in 2016. The findings are based on data from 136 countries. In the last 20 years, average real wages have almost tripled in emerging and developing G20 countries, while in advanced G20 countries, they have increased by just nine percent,” the report concluded.

Notably, for the first time, the ILO report also focused on the global gender pay gap, using data from 70 countries and some 80 percent of employees worldwide. Its findings indicated that despite some significant regional differences, men continue to be paid around 20 percent more than women.

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