UN Report: World Youth voice concern over employment prospects and call for investment increase

Feb 6, 2012

Young people around the world are deeply concerned about a lack of job opportunities and are calling for an increase in investment in this area, according to the latest World Youth Report, issued today by the United Nations.
In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the global youth unemployment rate saw its largest annual increase on record in 2009, resulting in around 75.8 million unemployed youth.

“Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known,” said UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon. “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 young people.”

For the first time, inputs gathered from young people around the world through an extensive online consultation form the core of the report, entitled Youth Employment: Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times. The report, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), also outlines the situation of young people in the labour market and youth employment trends.

Young people and representatives of youth-led organizations were invited to share through digital and social media platforms their views, experiences and recommendations on preparing for, entering, and remaining active in the workforce. A total of approximately 1,100 contributions (as well as photos and videos) were received from young people around the world during the four-week consultation period.

The report reveals that young people are worried about the quality and relevance of their education, as mentioned by Amadou, a 24-year-old man from Senegal: “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.” Other subjects of concern include job vulnerability, labour migration, delayed marriage, and the rural divide, as well as age, gender and racial discrimination.

But opportunities offered by green jobs, new technologies and entrepreneurship contribute to providing hope to young people, who also underline the need to be proactive and keep a positive outlook in order to find decent jobs, as expressed by Leo, 28 years old, from Spain: “We need to innovate, to risk, to create, to search.”
Through this process, participants also had the opportunity to interact online with UN Youth Champion Monique Coleman, and the Special Advisor on Global Youth Issues to the United States Secretary of State, Ronan Farrow, about their own experience and advice.

Due to the large demographic of young people in Kuwait and the rest of the Arab World and the implication this youth bulge might have for the development of Kuwait, UNDP Kuwait initiated, in full partnership with all Kuwaiti stakeholders, a Youth Programme in 2011 to address possible interventions related to youth empowerment at all levels including education, employment, health, environment, and other relevant issues.

NOTE: A panel discussion on youth employment will be held on 6 February, from 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. in NLB Conference Room 7 at UN Headquarters in New York to launch the report and examine the role of youth, governments and the private sector in addressing youth employment challenges.

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