Much of humanity depends on employment for their livelihood, if not for their very survival. Employment can be enjoyable and fulfilling, but it can also be degrading and debilitating. Countless millions of people, particularly in the developing world, work long hours for meagre wages, often in dangerous conditions. The collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory in 2013, killing more than 1,100 workers, was a reminder that much of the wealth we enjoy in the west has been created by what is essentially slave labour.
The twentieth century saw huge gains in workers’ rights and conditions across much of the world, but many of these gains have been eroded in recent decades. Almost everywhere, young people and women especially find it difficult to obtain employment, especially in jobs that match their skills and aspirations.
For information on child labour see Children and youth.