Do you ever think about what you might like to be when you grow up? There are lots of different jobs and people tend to choose their job depending on what skills and interests they have.
But unfortunately, some people just can’t get a job. There are lots of reasons for this. For example, they might be discriminated against or the job that they used to do might be replaced by machinery.
When people get desperate for work, they can end up taking a job where they are badly treated. For example, they might be made to work long hours or they might not be paid fairly.
So what can we do to help?
We need to need to remove the barriers to employment and make sure that all employers treat their workers well.
To remove the barriers to employment we must ensure that everyone has access to quality education, encourage businesses to employ the unemployed and help people apply for jobs.
As to making jobs safe and fair, laws should be implemented to make certain practices illegal. Certifications should be used to show that products are made in a fair way. People should also be rescued from unsafe jobs.
There are lots of ways that anyone, including you, can help make sure that everyone has access to a job where conditions are safe and they are paid and treated fairly. For example, you could: make a poster about the Fair-Trade certification to encourage people to look out for it when shopping or sign a petition to make minimum wage equal to everyone.
Everyone can take action to make real change. What will you do?
There are lots of charities that need your help to ensure decent work and economic growth.
For example, Anti-Slavery International work to end modern slavery throughout the world.
See how you can support them in their amazing work.
Have you ever wondered about how money and buying and selling started? For many thousands of years, people didn’t use money. Instead, they traded stuff. Imagine two farmers on neighbouring farms, thousands of years ago. Maybe one grew beans and the other one had chickens. They might have decided that they would trade each other eggs for beans.
Sometimes people didn’t have stuff to trade but instead they did things for someone, offering them their time, knowledge, creativity and skills in exchange for something else. Someone might have started fixing people’s shoes or building houses. All this trading and exchanging of goods and services is called the economy. When there’s plenty to go around for everyone, the economyHow much money a country or person has. is said to be doing well.
But say there was no rain and the farmers struggled to grow food and keep their animals healthy. They wouldn’t have had so much stuff to trade so they might not have asked someone to fix their shoes or to build a new barn for them. The cobbler and builder wouldn’t get anything from the farms then so their family might go hungry and they wouldn’t be able to trade with anyone else. When something like this happens, the economy is said to be doing badly and everyone starts suffering.
Fast forward several thousand years and we now use money to buy things like food and clothes and to put a roof over our heads. To get money, you need to work and there are thousands of different kinds of jobs to choose from. A job doesn’t only give you a way to make money but it also gives you a sense of reward and satisfaction. It is nice to think that you’ve created something amazing or helped someone to get something done or worked with other people in a team to achieve something big. When you do this, you feel good.
But what happens when you have a terrible job – and even worse, you don’t get paid a lot to do it? What if your boss is mean and you are treated badly? Or even worse, what if you just cannot find a job, no matter how hard you try? It isn’t always easy for people to get a good job that pays them well, especially when the economy isn’t doing well.
There are lots of different factors that can lead to unemployment. For example:
People working in some areas are no longer needed. As the world evolves and we develop more and more technology, some jobs are being replaced by machines. For example, many jobs on farms (such as feeding animals and picking fruit) are being replaced with robots.
Sometimes, people are discriminatedWhen someone is treated unfairly because of who they are – it could be something like their gender, race or religion. against when they apply for a job. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair may be the best person for a job but an employerA person or business that pays others to work. may decide to offer the job to an able-bodied person. Around the world, 26% of people with disabilities are unemployed. Some employers also discriminate against people who are currently unemployed. They believe that the person must be unemployed for a reason (for example because they are not a good worker) and choose not to hire them because of this.
People who did not receive a quality education don’t have the knowledge and skills to apply for good jobs.
When a country goes into an economic recession, that means the economy is doing badly. Their economy becomes less active so people buy fewer products and services. Companies cannot sell as much as they normally do and their profits decrease so they are forced to get rid of workers. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, when countries were forced to lock down and shut shops and places of leisure, their economy plummeted.
When there are not enough jobs for everyone, people do not have a lot of money to spend so they start shopping for cheaper products.
This means that businesses have to start producing cheap products to meet demand. So, to cut down on their cost, they employ fewer people, pay workers less and stop investing in important things such as safety.
Because there are fewer jobs and there are now more people than jobs, things become like an awful game of musical chairs (where the jobs are the chairs). Everyone is desperate for a job so employers can pay and treat workers badly and workers put up with it because they don’t have any other choice. For example, many farmworkers throughout the world are paid very little to do exhausting work for long hours.
Sometimes people are so desperate for work that they get tricked or threatened into work where they are exploitedMaking use of someone or something in a way that is considered unfair.. When people are exploited, owned or controlled by their employer, it is called slavery.
Many people think that slavery doesn’t happen anymore but, even though slavery is illegal, there are more people in slavery today than at any other time in history. About 40 million people are trapped in slavery today.
The final estimated price is :
Super kind people all over the world are working to make sure that everyone has access to a job where conditions are safe and they are paid and treated fairly.
Governments can improve access to education and provide better education so that everyone has the skills that they need to get a job. They can do this by using money to build schools and equip them with good resources and teachers.
Governments can make it more attractive for businesses to hire people without a job by providing subsidiesWhen a government pays part of the cost of something.. For example, The UK Youth Contract offers businesses up to £2,275 for employing a young person who has been out of work for at least six months and has been claiming job seekers allowanceA scheme where the government gives money to a person who is unemployed but looking for work..
Charities and job centres can help unemployed people secure jobs. They can help prepare people for interviews or they might lend a suit to a person so that they can look smart for their interview.
Governments are introducing laws to make certain practices illegal. These include:
Most countries now have a law that children under 14 years old cannot be employed. For example, in 1933 the UK government passed a law making it illegal to use children under 14 years old in employment.
In order to prevent people from underpaying their staff, countries have a minimum pay per hour that workers are entitled to – this is called minimum wage. This depends on factors like where you live, your age and whether you’re an apprentice. For example, in the UK in 2021, people under 18 must be paid a minimum of £4.62 an hour.
Governments can make laws that say businesses must teach their workers how to be safe and stay healthy at work. For example, people who work in warehousesBig buildings where materials and products are stored before being sold. might be taught how to lift heavy boxes so that they don’t hurt their back. The UK has had this kind of law in place since 1974.
There needs to be a way to check that businesses are obeying the laws and to punish the ones that don’t.
Charities and other organisations can work together to remove people from working conditions that aren’t safe. For example, charities might report child labour to the police so that the police can go and rescue the children and work with lawyers to punish the employers appropriately.
CertificationAn official document that says someone is doing or has achieved something. schemes can make sure that products are made in a fair way. One of the most well-regarded certifications is called the Fair-Trade certification. Fair Trade makes sure that farmers are treated fairly and equally. Watch a video on what fair trade is on the right.
Now that you understand a bit more about Decent Work and Economic Growth, it’s time to make a difference. It isn’t nice to think about some people not being able to get a job or children that are living in slavery. But turning a blind eye only makes things worse! Instead of feeling terrible about it, a much better use of your energy is to do something. If you want to do something practical to help, the power is in your hands. Take a look at some ways you can take action right now.
You can make a massive difference in somebody’s life by doing fundraising for charities that work to make sure that everyone can get a job where they will be paid and treated fairly. Some of the things the money you raise can achieve:
If you have any other ideas of SuperKind things people can do to help achieve good jobs for all, we would love to hear from you here.
Here are some amazing young people who cared about Decent Work and Economic Growth and took action to make change happen. These change makers were all passionate about the same cause but used their unique skills to make change happen in different ways.
Everyone can help make a difference. Consider what your unique superpower might be. Are you someone with a strong voice who likes to spread awareness by talking to everyone you meet? Or do you prefer a behind the scenes approach – making sure that donations are collected to take to those in need?