This contribution concentrates on developments within a number of the more highly industrialised countries purely because the author's own experiences have largely been confined to such countries. The subject matter arouses considerable interest these days from all quarters—politicians, administrators, employers, employees and academics alike. This interest is exemplified by the fact that many countries have in recent months or years promoted employment and manpower issues to the fore in their own planning and policy objectives. It is not always easy to ascertain just how much priority is being afforded to employment objectives, e.g. in economic and political decisions within countries: it is even more difficult, often because of the lack of labour market evidence, to assess the impact of policies in employment terms.
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