Decent work is a challenge that is both important and complex. A third of the global labour force are not earning enough to lift themselves and their families above the poverty line; three-quarters of workers in Africa and Asia are in vulnerable employment; and annually, an estimated 2.3 million people die every year from occupational accidents. Although most development and government programmes focus on creating more jobs, it is clear that we need to do more thinking about their quality as well.
To make progress in addressing these challenges, the Lab uses a systemic approach to catalyse large-scale and long-lasting change. The approach first aims to understand and then address the underlying reasons why these challenges exists. It focuses on selected markets (be they commodities like the soybean value chain, or whole sectors like construction) and has been used to improve outcomes across the Decent Work Agenda, including areas such as gender equality, productivity, skills and employability, youth employment, working conditions, and health and safety.
This brief lays out the steps to understand why and how the approach is used. It provides concrete examples, guidance and practitioner tools that demonstrate the versatility of the approach and provide an understanding of how to use the approach to address key decent work challenges in a range of contexts.