Creating High-Impact Employment Experiences for Youth

June 4, 2015

Youth unemployment, or the creation of “generation jobless” as it has been called, is a global crisis affecting both advanced and developing economies. It represents a colossal waste of human potential and a substantive drag on future economic growth.

A report from EY and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth highlights the fact that while global youth unemployment is on the rise and is expected to remain unchanged through 2018, some businesses are discovering the dividends of offering work and employment opportunities to young people.

In addition to the 358 million young people (aged 16–24) not in education, employment or training (NEETs), a further one billion young people will enter the labor market between today and 2030. In addition to the unemployed, millions of young people are engaged in part-time, temporary or “zero hours” contracts that offer no security, few development opportunities and little autonomy.

In the Middle East and Africa, for example, 80% of young workers are employed in the informal sector. Youth under 25 and living in Spain or Greece have a 50% chance of being unemployed.Youth Unemployment Stats

These are the headline data: a global crisis of challenging proportions.

There is no silver bullet to solve this crisis. Youth unemployment is not a one-dimensional challenge. But there is some good news.

Hiring young people, whether as temporary interns or full-time, can provide the essential foundation on which the next generation can begin to build sustainable paths into the workplace. And they offer tremendous value to companies as wel, providing new ideas, new perspecitves and insights, and a digitally native mindset that can help companies become better attuned to a growing customer base.

But to be successful requires a reciprocal relationship.  In exchange for the benefits companies derive, they have a responsibility to help young people grow their careers.  To encourage them to take thoughtful risks.  To access educational opportunities and provide resources for them to improve.

The private sector can play a big role in helping prepare young people for success in the 21st century workforce, and through those efforts help deliver greater inclusive growth.

 

 

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