Human Development Report 2015: Work for Human Development

13 Apr 2016


Human development is about enlarging human choices—focusing on the richness of human lives rather than simply the richness of economies (see infographic). Critical to this process is work, which engages people all over the world in different ways and takes up a major part of their lives. Of the world’s 7.3 billion people, 3.2 billion are in jobs, and others engage in care work, creative work, voluntary work or other kinds of work or are preparing themselves as future workers. Some of this work contributes to human development, and some does not. Some work even damages human development.

Work enables people to earn a livelihood and be economically secure. It is critical for equitable economic growth, poverty reduction and gender equality. It also allows people to fully participate in society while affording them a sense of dignity and worth. Work can contribute to the public good, and work that involves caring for others builds cohesion and bonds within families and communities.

This year’s Human Development Report explores how work can enhance human development, given that the world of work is changing fast and that substantial human development challenges remain. The Report takes a broad view of work, including voluntary work and creative work, thus going beyond jobs. And it examines the link between work and human development, focusing on care work as well as paid work and discussing sustainable work.

The Report concludes that work can enhance human development when policies expand productive, remunerative and satisfying work opportunities, enhance workers’ skills and potential and ensure their rights, safety and well-being. The Report also pursues an action agenda based on a New Social Contract, a Global Deal and the Decent Work Agenda.

UNDP Around the world