Only about 16 percent of the working-age population participate in wage and salary employment, much of this centered in Honiara. There is far more demand for employment than there are jobs, especially for the unskilled. Wages for unskilled work are low, at SI$1.20 in agriculture and fishing and SI$1.50 in other sectors. Since many products consumed in urban areas are imported, these wages are inadequate for living well in town.
There are 2 major unions: The Solomon Islands National Union of Workers (SINUW), representing workers in the private sector , and Solomon Islands Public Employees Union (SIPEU), for government workers. Unions in the private sector have become weaker in recent years, possibly as a result of the surplus of potential labor; the public-sector union has been more successful in promoting the interests of its members.