Employment from Mining and Agricultural Investments: How Much Myth, How Much Reality?

Employment creation is often seen as a key benefit of investment in natural resources. However, this benefit sometimes falls short: job estimates may be inflated, governmental policies may fail to maximize employment generation, and, in some cases, investments may lead to net livelihood losses. A more thorough examination of employment tied to mining and agricultural investments is thus useful for assessing whether and how employment from natural resource investments contributes to sustainable economic developmentā€”a particularly timely topic as countries consider how they will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.

This report (executive summary) aims to clarify the processes and impacts of job creation driven by large-scale mining and agricultural investments, and to suggest how policies can improve employment outcomes. A deeper understanding of the topic helps policymakers, citizens, and others assess employment claims made in the context of investment in mining or large-scale agricultural projects. It also presents governments with a difficult task: developing approaches that are aligned with best practices but fine-tuned to local contexts, and which improve the direct, indirect, and induced job creation outcomes of investments while addressing the disparate needs and expectations of both investors and citizens. Although complicated, such efforts are important for ensuring that the expected employment benefits of such investments do indeed materialize.