Sustainable Development Goal 8 aims to promote sustainable economic growth and decent work for all, by the year 2030. This goal aims to ensure positive economic growth without sacrificing sustainable practices and to provide decent and fulfilling work, with an emphasis on the protection of labour rights.1


BY 2030
  • Ensure labour rights and safe working conditions for all.
  • Support job creation across industries in an effort to lower unemployment and buoy quality of life for all.
  • End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, coupled with the prohibition and elimination of child labour, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
  • Improve sustainable consumption and production to prevent environmental degradation.
  • Increase youth employment, education and training to prepare them for the workforce.
  • Achieve equal pay for all women, men, and those who have historically been excluded from equal pay for equal work.


Decent Work and Economic Growth is essential for increasing the quality of life of those living in poverty. The global economy has suffered immensely due to the impacts of Covid-19 and has had the greatest impact on those living in marginalised communities or developing nations. Many workers laid off due to the pandemic were forced to leave the labour market, as most informal work was not an option due to the health crisis, putting working class families at risk of falling into poverty.12

The rise in global unemployment has been disproportionately felt by women in turn, increasing the unemployment gender gap. In 2022, the rate of employment for women was 47 percent, meaning the rate of female employment was 25 percent less than men. Although there have been persistent challenges to female employment, these have been heightened due to the impacts of Covid-19. As millions of students worldwide shifted to remote learning, the childcare burden for women increased, adding to the share of unpaid domestic work done by women.14 Women continue to struggle for gender parity in the workforce, making 19 percent less than men, globally.15


Youth partaking in education, training, and employment is at its lowest level since 2005 at 23.3 percent in 2020. Technical and vocational training suffered during this period, forcing many young people to quit or delay their studies, which may have a negative impact on their future career goals and earnings.16
Reliance on natural resources in production processes continues to grow worldwide. The global material footprint, which includes the amount of primary materials used, including biomass, fossil fuels, and metal ores, has risen from 57.1 billion tonnes in 2000 to 95.9 billion tonnes in 2019. Dependence on these finite natural resources continues to effect fragile ecosystems and can often have negative effects on human health, globally. A shift to more sustainable methods of production and consumption across economies is encouraged by the United Nations.

The World After COVID-19


The Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on every industry, resulting in one of the worst economic crises in decades. The global real GDP (gross domestic product) decreased by 4.4 percent at the onset of the pandemic but is now rebounding.17 As the global economy slowly recovers, the progress toward decent work and economic growth remains stunted.


From 2020, global unemployment rose drastically as many businesses were forced to shut down or operate at reduced capacity, leading to an increase in layoffs. Unemployment is expected to remain above pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023.18


Historically disadvantaged groups such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities have been the most affected by pandemic unemployment and will take the longest to recover. Globally, lower to middle income counties suffered the most due to market fallout and continue to struggle with weak economic growth.19


Additionally, these disruptions to income have been linked to a rise in forced labour due to an increase in debts, resulting in debt bondage.20Moreover, the pandemic has been linked to a rise in child labour by 8.4 million since 2016 and now totals 160 million, 1 in 10 children worldwide. 21

Employment Plus

Employment Plus is a service offered by The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand that helps jobseekers to find a placement that fits their needs and provides training opportunities, workshop, and resources.22 In the United Kingdom, youth seeking employment also benefit from Kickstart, which offers those 16-24 years old at risk of long-term unemployment a 6-month paid placement. 23 Employment Plus is dedicated to the inclusion of persons with disabilities and offers disability employment services tailored to the needs of the individual. 24

Strawberry Fields


Since the 1930s, The Salvation Army’s Strawberry Field hub has served the people of Liverpool. This iconic site inspired Liverpudlian John Lennon who memorialised it in the song “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the Beatles. Today, the site serves to help the vulnerable in the community, offering the “Steps at Strawberry Field” programme. “Steps to Work” helps those with learning difficulties and other employment barriers to develop their skills and achieve employment. This 12–18-month programme provides education and job placements to prepare them for the workforce.25

Others Trade for Hope


Beginning as “Sally Ann” in the mid-1990s, “Others - Trade for Hope” is a sustainable, fair trade shop offering artisan products made by women in Bangladesh and Kenya.26“Others” offers fair wages for those in vulnerable communities, empowering former sex workers, trafficking victims, and women in poverty to earn income through decent work.27 Over 1,000 people worldwide benefit from the income that “Others” provides to vulnerable communities. “Others” values fairness, solidarity, and equality throughout its operations and the artisan goods are purchasable online.28

WORTH Programme


Microfinance is a type of banking service provided to unemployed or low-income individuals or groups who otherwise would have no other access to financial services. 29 Microfinance is essential for the socio-economic development of historically disadvantaged communities and demographics. The Salvation Army understands the lifechanging effects of microfinance and the WORTH programme seeks to provide skills and training to rural woman to empower them and their communities.30 Women receive training in business development, financial well-being,and bookkeeping, and receive additional training in anti-trafficking, malaria, and HIV/AIDS prevention.31 Thousands of women in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda have participated in this programme, resulting in over a thousand small businesses.32


Operation Bottle

Brazzaville. (2023, April 2). In Wikipedia. 

In Brazzaville, Salvationists raise money to provide financial support to women and young girls who have escaped modern slavery and human trafficking or who may be vulnerable to being forced into this practice. These donations have contributed to the construction of a building which hosts a vocational centre for women and girls. The centre offers training in several different fields including tailoring, hairdressing, and baking to equip the women with skills that are in high demand. Training culminates in a certificate from the Ministry of Vocational Training, alongside employment assistance and guidance for establishing their own business. 33

Door of Hope

In the border town of San Diego, California in the USA Western Territory, there is a 7-acre transitional living centre called Door of Hope. Here, women and their children can live in a safe environment while working towards permanent housing and secure income. An integral part of this programme is the extensive career counselling the women receive, alongside budget planning. Door of Hope assists in enrolling children in school, employment assistance for parents to aid in their transition to permanent housing in the United States. 34

Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory

Helping women during their transition out of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking is imperative to fulfilling the aims of Sustainable Development Goal 8. In Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Salvation Army safehouses provide shelter for women and girls who were exploited and offer them the opportunity to learn new skills. Survivors are able to secure decent jobs with a liveable wage with the continued support of The Salvation Army .35

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth. The Global Goals. (2022, March 15). Retrieved December 5, 2022, from
United Nations. (n.d.). 50 million people in modern slavery: Un report. United Nations. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from
United Nations Statistics Division. (2022, July 7). SDG indicators. United Nations. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from
United Nations. (n.d.). International Equal Pay Day. United Nations. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from,pay%20gap%20estimated%20at%2023%20per%20cent%20globally.
6Understanding child labour statistics. Alliance 87. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from
10 Stopping forced labour - International Labour Organization. International Labour Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from
11United Nations. (2022, July). Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals – Report of the Secretary General. Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved October 28, 2022, from
12 Ibid.
13The gender gap in employment: What's holding women back? InfoStories. (2022, February). Retrieved December 20, 2022, from
14Dhar, D., & Diez de Medina, R. (2021, June 15). Despite recovery efforts, women's unemployment continues to grow. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved December 20, 2022, from
15United Nations. (2022, July). Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals – Report of the Secretary General. Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved October 28, 2022, from
17 Ibid.
18 United Nations Statistics Division. (2022, July 7). SDG indicators. United Nations. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from
19 Ibid.
20 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery Forced Labour and Forced Marriage. International Labour Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
21Hassfurter, K. (2022, October 14). Child labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward. UNICEF DATA. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
22 How we help. The Salvation Army - Employment Plus. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
23Kickstart. The Salvation Army. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
24Disability Employment Services (DES). Employment Plus. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
25Steps to work: Forever Strawberry Field. Strawberry Field Liverpool. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
26The History of Others. Others - Trade for hope. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
27 Ibid.
28About others. Others - Trade for hope. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
29Kagan, J. (2022, September 22). Microfinance definition: Benefits, history, and how it works. Investopedia. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
30Livelihoods. Salvation Army World Service Office. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
32Worth Project - Ministry to Women. Ministry to Women - USA Southern Territory. (2016, July 13). Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
33Everyone Everywhere Annual Report . International Social Justice Commission . (2022, May 19). Retrieved December 12, 2022, from
34Door of hope. Door of Hope. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2022, from
35Everyone Everywhere Annual Report. International Social Justice Commission. (2022, May 19). Retrieved December 12, 2022, from

Tags: SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth