Job losses have disproportionately affected young adults in the last year, and as the furlough scheme is phased out, fears remain that unemployment could still shoot up.

The latest statistics show that across the globe young adults have been the worst hit by job losses, with those under 25 twice as likely to be economically inactive. In the UK, people under 35 accounted for 80 per cent of job losses (635,000) in the year to March 2021. While some sectors have record vacancies and are struggling to fill posts, other employers have either made workers redundant or continue to rely on state-support schemes. 

As leaders of the G7 member states meet in Cornwall on Friday for this year’s three-day summit, they face significant pressure to adopt international coordination on economic policies as the world seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Though global, and seemingly distant, the policy decisions they make matter because they could affect the livelihoods of those in our communities. We should, therefore, pay attention to, and pray for, the decisions made on a global stage; but at the Evangelical Alliance we also want to equip the church to respond in practice. All countries need a range of mechanisms to alleviate poverty, but one vital component is the availability of work. This is an area where churches and Christians in local communities can and are making a lasting difference.


Global agreements on tax and economics

The finance ministers of the G7 nations last week announced a landmark agreement for an international minimum rate of corporation tax of 15 per cent. There is also consensus to pursue greater requirements for tax liability where a company’s products are sold and used rather than just where the company is based. 

While welcome, these measures will have limited impact as the base corporation tax rate is lower than any currently in operation in any of the seven countries. There is also concern that global companies will continue to find ways to minimise their tax costs and the overall impact may play better as a media headline than contributing to the collective budgets of the assembled leaders.

There is pressure for the leaders to go further and ensure that as countries withdraw state-funded support for workers and employers, such as the UK’s furlough scheme, they provide for those who may become unemployed. Ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November, many are also calling for economic recovery to prioritise care and stewardship of our planet.

From headlines to action

The grand promises made by international leaders about what they will do, and even the campaign rally cries calling for shifts in policy, can seem far removed from the reality of our daily lives. We might know intellectually that the actions leaders take are vital, and recognise how we might influence those decisions, but how does what we do make a difference to our neighbours?

How can we translate a passion for justice in our society, for a world where God’s people are supported to thrive and where His creation is cared for, into practical action in our daily lives?

Creating jobs is one response that Christians have historically spearheaded to make a difference in their local communities; and it is one which offers great opportunity today. As we navigate a perilous economic terrain on the back of the pandemic, we need Christians motivated to turn their hands to activities that create opportunities for work and to innovations that fuel employment. Doing so will, in turn, lift people out of poverty and provide a platform for them to flourish.

Working faithfully

The workplace is where many of us spend a large proportion of our time, and therefore a vital place for us to live out our faith. For Christians running businesses, creating jobs is a vital component of that; it gives people dignity and provides a vital root out of poverty.

Most people do not work for huge companies; small businesses, with fewer than 50 employees, account for two-thirds of the UK’s private sector employment, nearly 17 million jobs. While big companies have a critical role in job creation, the answer to the employment needs in our society primarily lies with small and local employers. If one in three small businesses created one new job it could eliminate unemployment in the UK.

Over the last few months, the Evangelical Alliance, which is passionate about helping Christians connect their faith with their daily life, has shared stories of Christians working to build businesses that glorify God and create jobs. We’ve also encouraged Christians to focus their prayers on this area of need in our society, and we will continue to offer resources and signpost ministries and organisations that can further equip Christians to create jobs. 

Let’s pray for the leaders meeting in Cornwall this weekend, but let’s also pray about what we can do, where we are, to help people into work.