More, Better, and Stable Jobs for the Youth
The recent upsurges in United States of America (Occupy Wall Street) and in other countries highlight outbreaks of anger among educated and unemployed people. Anxiety over dwindling job prospects and student debts led many post graduate students turn to violent protests in Chile, London, and Quebec. In an environment of fewer jobs, competition can divide communities and unsettle the social fabric of the country. More importantly, it gives an opportunity to illicit organizations to leverage the anger of the youth and to turn them against the society.
Among Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, more than one in eight of all 15 to 24 year-olds are not in employment, education, or training . The global youth unemployment rates remains at a high 12.7%. As per International Labour Organization’s (ILO) estimates, 74.8 million young people are unemployed. These lasting levels of unemployment risk social and political instability, while under-utilizing a massive talent pool. Such unemployment early on in a career damages long-term prospects, as professional and social skills erode. On a personal level, these people take longer to get married and begin families.
A job leads to improved self-esteem and a sense of community at the individual level and social cohesion at the community level. The world must rise and create productive jobs in order to maintain social cohesion. Without immediate policy changes and interventions, there is little hope for improvement in employment prospects for the youth.
While millions of youth are not able to find jobs, companies on the other hand are struggling to find employable staff. This paradox defies logic for policymakers. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020, there will be a global shortfall of 85 million high- and middle-skilled workers . In Americas and Europe, shortage of engineers and skilled workers has affected the manufacturing industry and is likely to become more severe by 2015 . This mismatch between the demand for jobs and the supply of skilled manpower presents a huge opportunity.
Several countries have recognized this gap and have developed policies and/or interventions to address it. Some of these include:
United Kingdom (UK) – In lieu of severe shortage of engineers and technicians, the UK government approved 15 ‘University Technical Colleges’ (UTC) to offer high quality, technical education that can lead to apprenticeships and employment. Additionally, the government also announced scholarships to attract teachers. Recognizing the importance of working closely with the private sector to identify skill gaps, the government partnered with organizations such as British Telecom, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft.
India – By 2025, 300 million people will enter the workforce, and India will have 25% of the world’s workforce . To leverage this ‘demographic dividend’, the...