ISLAMABAD (APP) - Pakistan has witnessed labour market gains in recent years, records the latest Pakistan Employment Trends report of the Ministry of Labour and Manpower. The report focusing on achieving MDG target 1(b), notes that significant progress has been made since the beginning of the decade towards achieving the target though challenges like imbalances in labour market persist and is evident from employment structure and productivity levels. The fourth issue of Pakistan Employment Trends report, to be launched Thursday, focuses on "Achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target 1-(b) - Full and productive employment and decent work for all including women and young people". Officials from Ministry of Labour and Manpower, United Nations, International Labour Organization and the workers and trade unions representatives would be attending the ceremony. The labour analysis in the report, suggest that the problem in Pakistan is not so much the absence of economic activity but is more the low quality and low productive nature of these activities which lead to low incomes in the country. Most poor and vulnerable people are working hard and long hours but in very low productivity jobs, where social protection and safety nets and networks are most often inadequate or missing. "Therefore, majority of Pakistan's population cannot afford to remain unemployed and has to work to make a living for themselves and their families," the reports notes. It recognizes that access to decent work and productive employment is essential as a sustainable way out of poverty and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Employment-to-population ratios - which indicate the ability of an economy to provide employment - are still much lower for women than for men. Although female employment ratios increased significantly from 13.9 per cent in 2000 to 19.4 per cent till 2007 - merely, a fifth of working age women over the age of 15 actually work, whereas almost eight out of 10 men do. At the same time, the relatively high employment-to-population ratios - of almost 80 per cent for men - are of concern as they point towards a likely abundance of low quality jobs in the country. The report adds that overall men seem to benefit more from improvements in the labour market. In 2007, the share of men with a wage and salaried job was at 41.5 per cent much higher than that for females (at 25.1 per cent), reflecting a situation in which the few wage and salaried jobs that are created, tend to go to men rather then women. A review of data shows that roughly six out of ten employed people in Pakistan (60.6 per cent) in 2007 were in vulnerable employment, meaning 'at risk of lacking decent work'. Special attention is warranted for the large share of women in vulnerable employment (74.6 per cent) and the large share of youth in vulnerable employment (58.1 per cent). Although often better skilled than the rest of the labour force, young people seem to face similar labour market difficulties as adults. Pakistan Employment Trends also note country's very low labour productivity growth (1.8 per cent per year on average) since the beginning of the decade. The relatively low growth in labour productivity has not gone hand in hand with employment growth (3.7 per cent per year on average). This development suggests that many new labour market entrants are taking on low-productivity, poorly remunerated work. The fourth issue of Pakistan Employment Trends as the report concludes is that the utilization of the labour potential and promotion of decent work agenda in the country could be the key to sustainable growth and poverty reduction. Pakistan's economic growth and development could benefit if everyone would have access to decent work. Therefore policy-makers do not only need to place employment at the centre of social and economic policies, they also have to recognize that the challenges faced by women and men in the world of work require interventions tailored to specific needs.