SDG8: Economic growth for sustainable future
Author: Ela Kurtcu, Global Impact Grid
Although the number of workers living in extreme poverty is showing a substantial decline over the past 25 years, and the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment, the world economy is still facing serious challenges ahead. Inequalities and not enough jobs to keep up with a growing labour force left more than 204 million people without a job in 2015. 
The SDG8 tends to achieve fair and productive employment and decent work for all women and men by 2030. Some promising statistics show that, in 2018, the world’s labour productivity increased by 2.1 per cent, its highest annual growth since 2010. Additionally, unemployment is in its relatively normalized levels matching those of the pre-financial crisis. Although it seems that SDG8 is realistically achievable by 2030, data shows that the global economy is growing at a slower rate. Increasing employment opportunities for the youth and reducing the gender pay gap are some of the main priorities identified as crucial for things to move in the direction of its rehabilitation. 
Providing employment opportunities for young people is challenging due to many factors. In 2018, for example, one fifth of the world’s youth were not in education, employment or training. The lack of interest in gaining professional experience and acquiring or developing skills through educational or vocational programs in their prime years contribute to the outcome of a 2018 analysis, showing that youth were three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.
Additional challenge for the successful implementation of SDG8 is resolving the gender pay gap issue. It is estimated that “young women were more than twice as likely as young men to be unemployed or outside the labour force and not in education or training.” This imposes difficulties in terms of overcoming gender disparity and providing equal and fair distribution of assets. Based on analysis conducted in 62 countries, the median hourly gender pay gap stood at 12 per cent. The gender pay gap has a highest rate in managerial and professional occupations, as well as among workers in crafts and related trades and those employed in factories.
SDG8 in Germany
In regards to youth unemployment, Germany maintained an annual average of 6.8 percent in 2017, one of the lowest in the world. Germany’s good results in this area come from the fact that the country provides well-paid manufacturing jobs, and is especially good at collecting the fruits of globalization and technological change many countries still struggle to adapt to.
Its dual education system combining subsidized classes at vocational institutions with apprenticeship training has resulted in easing the entry in the labour market. The country’s dual education system provides numerous opportunities in regards to high-skilled employment, engaging 60 percent of high school graduates each year. 
However, Germany's gender pay gap is larger than the EU average. In 2016, the average wage for women in Germany in 2016 was 21 percent below the average wage for men, and the 2019 research came up with the same exact results, demonstrating how little progress has been made in this area. 
Data shows that women tend to work in lower-pay job sectors, seldom reached executive positions and frequently take on part-time jobs. Three factors that contribute to unequal pay in Germany have been identified, and they are: uneven distribution of men and women across various industry sectors; the issue of part-time employment; the issue of experience. 
There are numerous employment and labour market integration schemes in Germany which are being built on successful initiatives. Hopefully, very soon, Germany will launch initiatives focused on encouraging women to become active contributors to the makings of a sustainable future too, which will not only theoretically, but practically – benefit us all.