Women and Low-Skilled Workers: Efforts in Other Countries to Help These Workers Enter and Remain in the Workforce

GAO-07-989T Published: Jun 14, 2007. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 2007.
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Increasing retirements and declining fertility rates, among other factors, could affect the labor force growth in many developed countries. To maintain the size and productivity of the labor force, many governments and employers have introduced strategies to keep workers who face greater challenges in maintaining jobs and incomes, such as women and low-skilled workers, in the workforce. This testimony discusses our work on (1) describing the policies and practices implemented in other developed countries that may help women and low-wage/low-skilled workers enter and remain in the labor force, (2) examining the change in the targeted groups' employment following the implementation of the policies and practices, and (3) identifying the factors that affect employees' use of workplace benefits and the resulting workplace implications. The testimony is based on a report we are issuing today (GAO-07-817). For that report, we conducted an extensive review of workforce flexibility and training strategies in a range of developed countries and site visits to selected countries. Our reviews were limited to materials available in English. We identified relevant national policies in the U.S., but did not determine whether other countries' strategies could be implemented here. The report made no recommendations. The Department of Labor provided technical comments; the Department of State had no comments on the draft report.

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