Reducing Poverty through Employment

What have you done today to reduce poverty? Perhaps it’s not a question that is frequently asked, but when you consider that quality employment is one of the most effective, lasting ways to reduce poverty, it becomes clear that through intelligent sourcing, companies can contribute to ending global poverty through their existing operations.

To demonstrate how, the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC) has launched the Reducing Poverty through Employment toolkit. The Toolkit serves as a guide for companies on how to get started or how to enhance existing efforts to employ, empower, and improve the advancement prospects of those living in poverty as a part of their direct and indirect workforces.

Globally, millions of individuals and families subsist below the international extreme poverty line, and many more live below national poverty lines. Employing and training these individuals for quality work opportunities with career advancement potential is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty. Importantly for companies, it is also an investment that can create business value and build competitive advantage amidst evolving labour markets and increasing customer and stakeholder expectations for the private sector to contribute to sustainable development.

“Businesses increasingly understand why they must address issues around poverty and inequality but rarely know how to do this effectively and meaningfully. This toolkit shows companies the ‘how’ through useful examples and tactics that can help them integrate people from low income backgrounds across the value chain,” said Rabayl Mirza, Impact Specialist at the Business Call to Action, Bureau for Programme and Policy Support, United Nations Development Programme.


Through literature review and drawing on the extensive knowledge and good practices of GISC member companies around the globe, GISC has identified four key areas in which companies can get started implementing best practices to provide employment opportunities with the potential to create pathways out of poverty:

  • Setting the tone for inclusive employment through commitments, communication, and culture. This can include appointing leader from top management to champion efforts, defining and embedding inclusive employment goals and targets within operational plans, and communicating in a way that respects and empowers low-income job seekers.
  • Making adaptations across the employee life cycle to better identify, integrate, and empower low-income job seekers. In hiring, this can include identifying roles that require in-demand skills that can be learned on the job and creating a simple job application form; in onboarding it can include front-loading training on corporate norms and expectations and introducing peer mentorship; and in the long-term it can include offering paid, on-the-job training and helping employees develop portable skills.
  • Offering quality terms of employment that support sustainable livelihoods. This can include offering full-time, formal employment; enabling predictable scheduling with flexibility; offering stable, frequent pay periods; and paying a living wage.
  • Developing employee offerings that enable employment and build resilience. This can include offering life skills training, partnering with local experts to provide wrap-around support services, helping employees manage transportation, and ensuring better access to financial safety nets.

The Toolkit includes case studies from Sutherland, Televerde, B2R Technologies and PeopleShores PBC, who have seen the positive impact of inclusive hiring.

“We’ve seen up close what can be achieved through Impact Sourcing and are delighted to share our experiences with other companies via GISC’s Reducing Poverty Through Employment Toolkit. We urge companies to eliminate systematic barriers to success and to begin investing in inclusive hiring practices to help reduce poverty through continuous and meaningful employment. Don’t miss the chance to take part in the global effort to end poverty in all forms, wherever it exists in the world,” said Kellie Walenciak, Head of Corporate Communications, Televerde.

Companies are invited to learn more about using the Reducing Poverty through Employment Toolkit by registering for a webinar on October 17, 2019 11:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada), which is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

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