Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

June 17, 2021

“Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress.”

Over 60 per cent of all workers lack any kind of employment contract and less than 45 per cent of wage and salaried workers are employed on a full-time permanent basis. This is worsened by over 400 million jobs lost as a consequence of the global pandemic, leaving the future of work and the achievement of SDG8 by 2030 uncertain. Progress so far has generally been slow with uneven major gaps across regions. Since 2000, growth in both gross domestic product (GDP) and labour productivity has been stronger among lower- and upper-middle-income countries than in low- and high-income countries. Moreover, least developed countries are falling short of the specific SDG 8 target of sustaining annual GDP growth of at least 7 per cent. In addition, progress in reducing informality is poor, and informal employment continues to account for around 61 per cent of workers globally.

SDG 8 seeks to promote sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. By 2030, this goal is set to be achieved through twelve targets including the sustenance of per capita economic growth, achievement of higher economic productivity levels, promotion of labour-oriented policies, increased aid for trade support in developing counties, among others.

While the pandemic continues, existing policy responses will need to be applied urgently and effectively as the necessary prelude to support businesses, boost labour demand, preserve existing and ensure gradual and safe returns to work.  It is critical that economic policies focus much on job creation to ensure decent work opportunities, especially for young people. There is also a need to strengthen institutions of work to ensure adequate protection for all workers, and to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

Find out more:


  • International Labor Organization (ILO):
  • International Labor Organization (ILO): Time to Act for SDG 8 Integrating Decent Work, Sustained Growth and Environmental Integrity, 2019
  • United Nations (UN): The Sustainable Development Goal Report, 2020 (p. 40)