Employment is fundamental to development, because when people cannot access decent work, inequality and poverty persist and development slows down.
Employment creation, decent work and labour rights are cornerstones of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Employment is both a stand-alone goal and is rooted in many of the other goals, such as ending poverty and hunger, achieving gender equality and reducing inequalities. Without progress towards achieving the employment-related goals, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve many of the other goals.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8
Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
High levels of chronic under-employment and unemployment, adverse working conditions, increased migration or migratory pressures, and the predominance of informal work, with few or no rights and protection for workers, are persistent features of labour markets in many developing countries.
This is why the EU promotes employment that is secure, pays a fair wage, ensures safe working conditions and provides for social protection and social dialogue, safeguarding rights at work. These are all elements of the decent work agenda.
Secure and decent work remains out of reach for many, with an estimated 1.4 billion people working in vulnerable employment or in the informal economy. Major efforts need be made to foster job creation that takes into account demographic trends and promotes increased productivity, improvements in earnings and working conditions, and the respect of labour rights, especially for the poor and marginalised.
Over the past 15 years, economic growth rates have been impressive across most of Africa. Nevertheless, 40 % of young African workers are still living in poverty.
With the number of young people in Africa set to double in the next 30 years, 18 million jobs must be created every year to absorb them into the job market.
For workers and job seekers to take advantage of quality job opportunities, they require the skills and training needed by the labour market, which are often lacking. The EU is supporting the development of Vocational Education and Training systems in many partner countries, to address this 'skills mismatch', so that workers and job seekers can develop their full capabilities, enabling them to seize social and employment opportunities.
- Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) 2014-2020
- Global Public Goods and Challenges (GPGC)
- Increasing the impact of EU Development Policy: an agenda for change. COM 637 final Brussels, 2011
- A Stronger Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries COM 263 final, 2014
- Staff Working Document - Promoting Employment through EU Development Cooperation, SEC495, 2007
- Promoting decent work for all – the EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world, COM249 final, 2006
Other useful documents