decent work and economic growth

Decent Work and Economic Growth4 min read

The 8th item on the list of Sustainable Development Goals is Decent Work and Economic Growth.

It’s good news that the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined, despite the impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession.

However, with global economic recovery, there is still slow growth, widening inequalities, and not enough jobs to sustain.


More than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015 according to the International Labour Organization.

Nigeria as a case study:

Jobs are inadequate and people are forced to work on jobs that they’re trained on with meagre pay. Many go without salaries for several months even on government jobs.

And more students graduate after several strike actions to join the unemployed populace and the cycle continues.

People move from rural to urban areas to change environments and hunt for jobs. In the end, this migration puts stress on the already inadequate resources.

When they still don’t get decent work or employment and have to survive, they engage in indecent works. Activities like prostitution, stealing and robbery, fraud, human trafficking, and kidnapping have become regular.

The effect of this is far-reaching. See an illustration:

A father is not paid salary, his son steals and is caught, the mob is hungry and angry. Jungle justice takes place. The news spreads like wildfire.

Someone else leaves to find greener pastures in another country. In transit, they are slaved, maltreated and even killed, knowing their government doesn’t care about them.

People have suffered and slaved away without fundamental human rights and this has led to more Inequalities.

decent work and economic growth


People lose faith in government and devise other means for themselves whether good or bad.

Consequently, people migrate legally and illegally to other environments they perceive to be more stable with respect to work and living standards. This has affected the economy and Forex earning negatively.

In the process of migration, people have been trafficked, sold into slavery, and even killed. The case of Nigerians in/passing through Libya is an example. The case of 26 Nigerians dying at Mediterranean sea is no different.

People commit suicide and others become frustrated.

This has led to disrespect from other countries and people feeling unpatriotic about their countries due to the treatment they get. Countries treat other countries how those countries treat their citizens.

These are a few examples of the consequences of neglecting the provision of decent work and economic growth.


Some of the goals here include:

  • Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 percent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries
  • Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading, and innovation, including through a focus on high-value-added and labour-intensive sectors
  • Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • Improve global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation
  • By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
  • Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms
  • Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, women in particular
  • By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products


  • Creating working environments where creativity can thrive – this will directly increase the Creativity Index of such an environment
  • Increase access to innovative technology to make work easier and improve productivity
  • Encourage youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, and job creation and discourage over-reliance on government. This will eradicate modern slavery and check emigration
  • Advocate for and insist on equal pay for equal work done
  • Diversification of the economy and exploration of other potential earners for job creation and employment
  • Quality education and qualification also have huge roles to play in ensuring decent working conditions and economic growth
  • Good leadership and conducive working conditions and policies


Iceland is one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world with a diversified economy – biotechnology, finance, and manufacturing.

It has a market economy with low taxes and provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. It also ranks high in economic, political and social stability and equality. Additionally, it ranks first on the Global Peace Index.

Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy and its economy has seen a significant surge, especially in tourism.


Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions have an influence on Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Find detailed information and statistics on the UNDP site.

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