Ukraine has a population of 46 million and capita GDP reached $3,007 in 2010. From 2000 to 2008 the Ukrainian economy grew steadily at an average of seven per cent a year. Growth was driven by strong domestic demand, rising wages and pensions, and high global prices for steel, Ukraine’s main export. Trade with EU countries now exceeds trade with Russia.

The global financial crisis deeply impacted Ukraine. In 2009 the economy contracted by 15 per cent. Industrial output declined and job losses, cuts in working hours and wage arrears soared. Growth resumed in 2010 and there are signs of labour market recovery.
While inequality is a persistent challenge in Ukraine, there have been a number of successes. Poverty has decreased and the reduction was sustained during the crisis through increased state social expenditure. Infant and maternal mortality are down. Efforts are also being made to increase women’s role in decision making and to address the rising prevalence of HIV.

Decent work in and labour market issues
Reducing inequality and improving human development are at the top of the development agenda in Ukraine. Over the last decade, employment creation has enabled more men and women to find jobs. The service sector employs more than half the labour force.

However job creation has not kept up with economic growth. Working conditions are difficult and insecure for many and wage arrears continue to erode living standards. The impact of the global financial crisis reversed progress in reducing unemployment and resulted in a sharp rise in underemployment.

Women make up half the labour force and outperform men in many sectors of education. Substantial investments in improving maternity benefits have helped many women strike a better work life balance. Although the gender pay gap is wide as men earn some 30 per cent more than women.

The social security system is extensive, covering the nine main branches listed in the ILO Social Security Convention 1952 (No. 102). Efforts to improve sustainability are needed as the population ages.

A law on social dialogue was adopted in 2007, strengthening the legal and institutional basis of the industrial relations system. A draft Labour Code currently under consideration will further reinforce social dialogue.

Efforts are being made to tackle human trafficking child labour, including its worst forms, both of which remain a challenge.

Decent work into national policies

The government action programme “Toward the People” launched in 2005 sets out a path to enable further progress in human development and the realization of all human rights. Priorities include: poverty reduction; job creation and promotion of entrepreneurship to enable people to fulfil their aspirations; provision of social protection for all with targeted assistance for the most vulnerable; improvement of living standards and better governance.

The Government, Trade Unions and Employers’ Organizations in cooperation with the ILO have designed a Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) to help reach national and other internationally agreed goals. The DWCP sets out three major priorities:

i)             Strengthen capacity of government institutions and the social partners to improve labour market governance;
ii)            Improve employment policy formulation and promote equal opportunities in the labour market; iii)           Improve the effectiveness of social protection policies, with special focus on vulnerable groups.

These DWCP priorities also contribute towards the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).

National partners


Further reading