Four-Course Menu For Fueling Economies

Eight, for some, is the luckiest number, being linked in some cultures to wealth and prosperity. It is therefore fitting that the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 relates to strong, uninterrupted growth and decent jobs for all.

Where do we stand today on jobs, a good eight years after the global financial and economic crisis started brewing in late 2007? The number of unemployed persons globally amounts to 201 million. The level of unemployment has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels, and youth are hard hit with 74 million young persons out of work last year.

Beyond the inadequate number of available positions, the quality of existing jobs is a further concern. More than half of the world’s workforce is estimated to be trapped in the informal economy, while 780 million women and men constitute the working poor, and have to make do with less than US $2 a day. Meanwhile, a comparatively well-off worker in an advanced economy may only be able to dream about a full-time position with a long contract these days.

These big unemployment and poverty figures explain the necessity for the nations of the world to focus on growth and decent work, and why this goal is at the heart of global priorities for the next decade and a half.

But how do we get out from behind the eight ball? The situation can be turned around and there are signs of promising action.

In the United States, a number of major companies, the likes of McDonalds, Target and TJ Maxx, have recently taken the initiative to raise wages to levels surpassing the legally required minimum. Others are granting substantial periods of paid parental leave. A living wage will be gradually introduced in the United Kingdom in the period 2016 to 2020, —> Read More