UN’S GLOBAL REPORT ON YOUTH HIGHLIGHTS RISING CONCERNS OVER LACK OF JOB
New York, Feb 6 2012 2:05PM
A lack of job opportunities, inadequate education, vulnerable working
conditions and insufficient government investment are some of the main
concerns of young people around the world, according to a United Nations
report on youth published today.
The latest World Youth Report, released by the UN Department of
Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), for the first time included inputs from
young people – with many participating in an online discussion on youth
For almost one month, young people from the ages of 15 to 30 took part in an
online consultation organized by DESA to share their views, experiences and
recommendations on preparing for, entering and remaining active in the
working force. Their contributions are the main subject of the report.
A main concern in the discussions was that current education systems are not
preparing young people adequately to compete in the job market.
“Young people questioned the quality of education they and their peers
receive: whether or not it is relevant to available jobs, how their
knowledge and skills will serve them in the long-term, and the extent to
which decision-makers are committed to needed investment in the potential of
young people,” the report said.
Youth were especially worried that the education they received was overly
theoretical, leaving them to acquire practical skills on their own. “Today
it should be easier to find a job because our generation is the most
educated but there is an inadequacy between the training offered and the
needs of the labour market,” said Amadou, a Senegalese 24-year-old who
Many also expressed concern about their governments not doing enough to help
them overcome unemployment, stressing that without a lack of opportunities,
they cannot apply their skills. “What is the use of education if we are not
given a chance to put our knowledge and skills into work?” asked Mridula, a
16-year old from India.
Since the start of the global economic crisis, young people have faced
particularly hard conditions when trying to transition from schools to the
labour market. In the aftermath of the economic crisis in 2009, global youth
unemployment rate saw its largest annual increase on record, resulting in
some 75.8 million unemployed youth. Joblessness rates among youth are also
significantly higher than adult ones. In 2010, for example, the youth
unemployment rate was 12.6 per cent, compared to 4.8 per cent for adults.
“Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever
known,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the report’s introduction.
“They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and
political life. We need to pull the UN system together like never before to
support a new social contract of job-rich economic growth. Let us start with
The report also reveals that even after finding work young people face
unstable conditions, as they are often the last to be hired and the first to
be dismissed. It also noted that young women face greater challenges than
their male counterparts when accessing jobs, with many having to work part
time or in lower-paid occupations.
Despite the many obstacles they described, young people were hopeful and
optimistic that they would be able to not only find jobs, but also make
significant contributions to their society. The report shows that they are
placing more and more importance in creating their own opportunities and
becoming entrepreneurs rather than being employed by large companies.
The report also showed that youth are looking to innovate in areas that are
growing such as green technologies and communications.
“Young people are, in general, more conscious of global issues like climate
change and social equity. I think that promotion of green economies among
youth is a winning solution,” said Michael, a 23-year-old who is a member of
the World Esperanto Youth Organization.
Some 1,100 contributions, as well as photos and videos, were received from
young people around the world during the four-week consultation period. The
discussions were conducted mainly in the English language, but participants
were also invited to post comments in the French and Spanish languages. Many
posts were translated on a volunteer basis, and Google Translate was also
made available on the platform.
DESA noted that extensive outreach efforts were made to reach as many young
people as possible, paying attention to geographic, age, gender and other
considerations. However, it noted that the report only reflects the opinions
of youth who have access to the Internet, stressing the need to widen
consultations to reach those without online access.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news