Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation.

– Kofi Annan

Global Youth Unemployment Solutions

In order for the global community to better prepare young people for success in the labor market, we must first recognize that the job market has changed over the past decade:

  • In today’s job market, retail, hospitality, and professional services are the job creators, while agriculture and manufacturing – both sizable percentages of total employment – are experiencing slowing or declining growth rates.
  • Today’s leading employers are searching for new kinds of skills: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. These skills reflect a young person’s ability to operate in a connected economy that is continuously evolving, yet these skills are not typically provided through formal education.
  • Many developing countries are experiencing a significant youth bulge – due to reduced infant mortality and high fertility – which represents a demographic dividend in the future but needs to be managed in the near term.

In this quickly evolving global economy, solutions to youth unemployment must enable young people to develop skills desired by employers, not just by educators, and recognize the financial and economic constraints that many youth face.

Technology offers exciting opportunities to boost youth employment. Although education technology such as massive online open courses (MOOCs) are not a panacea, when combined with tailored, hands-on support, they can help youth customize their education and build their technical and soft skills at a fraction of the cost of private brick-and-mortar alternatives.

Increasing access to digital technology is also creating a range of freelancing and micro-entrepreneurship opportunities that provide youth with an entry into the labor force and allow them to mix and match jobs so that they can build their own careers.

As more youth develop soft skills, employers will need to assess the quality of these skills. Therefore on the demand side, standardizing assessments for soft skills and developing certifications will help employers select candidates in line with their needs.

These types of solutions have the potential to address the youth unemployment crisis. However, we must recognize the constraints of the private and public sectors in creating employment opportunities. Young people need the tools and resources to create their own jobs.

In this website we’ve detailed emerging solutions to youth unemployment. Read on to see what we can collectively do to alleviate this global problem, because ultimately, success will depend on coordinated efforts from employers, learners, training providers, and governments.