Employment Creation & Labour Standards

Decent work is fundamental to reducing povertyFor the vast majority of people the route out of poverty is through employment. Most countries that have succeeded in reducing poverty have followed strong employment creation policies. But sustained poverty reduction requires that the jobs created must be productive and remunerative.

The concept of ‘Decent Work’ embraces the need for job creation while also promoting the right of women and men to productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. It is not sufficient to have a job; it must be a job that provides a living wage and protection against injury, stress and unfair treatment.

International labour standards provide the basis for Decent Work. They play a critical role in improving the rights, livelihoods, security, and opportunities of people, families and communities around the world and are fundamental to ensuring growth and development benefit all members of society. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the tripartite UN agency that brings together governments, employers and workers of its member states in common action develop and maintain labour standards and to promote Decent Work throughout the world. Decent Work is now incorporated into the Millennium Development Goals. The ILO’s core labour standards are also a key component of the principles of the Global Compact, the major international corporate social responsibility initiative.

EAP’s Programme

EAP is working to promote the maximisation of employment in engineering projects and activities – particularly focused on creating employment opportunities in low income countries and regions. Our procurement research has identified strategies to support ‘local content’ and local employment opportunities through the process of infrastructure development. EAP’s work in the extractive industries has examined how local employment can be enhanced through skills and competency development and through local procurement of goods and services.


EAP has also endorsed the work of the CIDB in developing best-practice guidelines for Labour-based methods and technologies for employment intensive construction works. The guidelines are premised on the understanding that employment opportunities can be optimised by adopting, where technically and economically feasible:

  • labour-based methods of construction and manufacture where labour, utilising hand tools and light equipment, is preferred to the use of heavy equipment for specific activities; and
  • labour-based technologies where there is a shift in balance between labour and equipment in the way the work is specified and executed for selected works components.

EAP’s work on health and safety in the construction sector in Tanzania is providing a case study of how health and safety standards can be systematically improved across a whole sector.



Promoting Construction Health and Safety through Procurement


This briefing note, jointly published by EAP and the Institution of Civil Engineers, demonstrates how procurement systems can be utilised to achieve improvements in health and safety in the construction industry. Aimed primarily at clients and financiers, the report will also be of interest to those following reforms in the procurement of works in the developing world.

Date Published: 12 December 2013
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