SDG 8: Decent work and Economic growth

We act as a motor for economic and social development by creating stable and quality employment

Employment Economy SDG

At Iberdrola, we made 4,700 new hires in 2022, thus exceeding 40,700 total employees. In addition, the Group supports another 400,000 jobs at thousands of suppliers around the world through our purchases, which exceeded €17.8 billion in the year.

What is sustainable development goal 8: Decent work and Economic growth?

SDG 8 understands that inclusive and sustained economic growth can drive progress, create decent jobs for all and improve living standards. To achieve this, among other measures, the UN considers it necessary that a number of mandates be implemented to maintain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and to achieve GDP growth of at least 7 % per year in the least developed countries, or to achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation. This includes focusing on high value-added sectors. It also sees the need to progressively improve the efficient production and consumption of the world's resources and to seek to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. 

This is one of the SDGs that has suffered a major setback due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. According to the World Labour Organisation, it is estimated that 8.8% of all working hours will be lost by 2020, equivalent to the hours worked in a year by 255 million full-time workers. The United Nations therefore developed a roadmap for an immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 to support countries on their path to social and economic recovery, and thereby achieve more sustainable development and make the global economy more resilient to future shocks.

Why is it so important to achieve SDG 8: Decent work and Economic growth?

Eradicating poverty will only be possible through stable and well-paid employment. So it is vital to promote full and productive employment and decent work for everyone the world over. This will achieve the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth like that created by green jobs.

According to the United Nations, globally, the number of jobs needed between 2016 and 2030, just for people entering the labour market to keep pace with the growth of the world's working-age population, is 470 million. This represents about 30 million jobs per year. Moreover, these jobs must be decent, i.e., productive work that provides a fair income, safety in the workplace and social protection for families, while offering better prospects for personal development and social integration.

The 7 % GDP growth target for the least developed countries had not been reached before the pandemic. In fact the actual GDP growth rate per capita was 2 % in 2018 (the same level as the average annual growth rate between 2010 and 2018). In 2021, after the huge collapse caused by the coronavirus crisis, the global growth rate rebounded to 5% but, according to the UN classification of the least developed countries, this rate has dropped by 0.4%

As for the labour productivity growth rate, this reached 1.6 % in 2018 and 1.4% in 2019, but there were very considerable regional differences: while labour productivity fell in Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Asia, and Sub-Saharan and North Africa it rose in all the other countries, fairly quickly in East, South-East, Central and Southern Asia. A strong rebound of 3.2% was experienced in 2021, but again with large differences between regions. Productivity in the least advanced countries declined by 1.6 %. In 2021, the average worker in a high-income country produced 13.6 times more than the average worker in a low-income country.

As for the unemployment rate, it stood at 5 % globally in 2019 (11 % of the labour force was unemployed in North Africa and West Asia). After the pandemic-induced rise in 2020, unemployment fell slightly to 6.2 % in 2021. Despite this, there are 28 million more unemployed in 2021 than in 2019. It should also be noted that the level of unemployment underestimates the full impact of the pandemic, as many of those who dropped out of the labour force have not returned, nor does it reflect many of the reductions in working hours of those who continued to work. In 2021, 4.3% of working hours were lost globally relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, equivalent to a shortfall of 125 million full-time jobs (based on a 48-hour working week). Again, this is very uneven by region. In 2021, the unemployment rate improved significantly in high-income countries, but worsened in less advanced ones. 

Facing the current situation and reversing the trend that these data reflect has become a primary objective at the international level. This is why promoting decent, inclusive and sustainable work became SDG 8 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015 as part of 2030 Agenda.


 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Keys to understanding labor inequality in the world [PDF] External link, opens in new window.

SDG 8 Targets: Decent work and Economic growth 

The specific targets set for 2030 are:

  • Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including young people and the disabled, as well as equal pay for work of equal value.

  • Eradicate forced and child labour and protect labour rights.

  • Adopt tax, salary and social protection policies and progressively achieve greater equality.

  • Protect labour rights and promote a safe and risk-free working environment including for migrants (especially women).

  • Improve the efficient production and consumption of the world's resources and decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.

  • Ensure greater representation of developing countries in decisions taken by international economic and financial institutions.

The SDGs and their impact on economy, society and environment

The SDGs as part of Iberdrola Group's business strategy

Circulo ODS

Main focus

  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Climate action

Direct Contribution

  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Industry, innovation e infrastructure
  • Life on land
  • Partnerships for the goals

Indirect Contribution to all Other SDGs

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Life below water
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions

Our contribution to ODS 8: Decent work and Economic growth 

At Iberdrola, we work to ensure that our activities have a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. Our strategy and business model are fully committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, therefore, the company is firmly committed to economic, social and environmental development. 

We are an important driver of job creation; since 2015 we have hired between 4,000 and 5,000 employees per year, with almost 100% of the contracts being permanent. Specifically, in 2022 we have made 4,700 new hires, thus exceeding 40,700 total employees of almost 90 nationalities. We are also committed to quality employment and therefore offer our employees various social benefits, such as pension plans or welfare programmes to facilitate the reconciliation between personal and professional life. In addition, the Group supports another 400,000 jobs in thousands of suppliers around the world through our purchases, which exceeded €17.8 billion in the year. 

We also have a solid learning strategy, as we want to take care of our employees' experience and encourage their professional growth, promoting internal rotation and international mobility as levers for development. We also have solutions that reinforce the development of strategic capabilities through actions focused on different professional profiles. As a result of the various initiatives promoted, in 2022, 68 hours of training were provided per employee, which places the company at the highest levels in Europe.