by Karola Klatt
A decade after the onset of the global crisis, youth unemployment remains high in many
The International Labour Organization (ILO), which marks its centenary this year, shone a spotlight on young people’s opportunities for work with a panel discussion at its recent anniversary conference. At the event, young academics from the middle east, Africa and Latin America probed the causes of the high global rate of youth unemployment.
The issue is not however confined to the countries of the global south, home to a large proportion of its young cohorts. In many
Indeed, in the wake of the financial and economic crisis, youth unemployment has skyrocketed in almost all
The good news is that, since this spike, youth joblessness has receded, in some countries significantly. The bad news is that it remains far too high.
In the latest EU Social Justice Index 2017, published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the authors urge member states to intensify their efforts to combat youth unemployment by ‘improving vocational training, further reducing the number of early school-leavers, and better facilitating the transition from the education system into the labor market. There is frequently a great discrepancy between the demands of the labor market and the skills made available by the education system.’
Failing to secure a job means young adults face a hurdle right at the start of their independent lives. They remain reliant on their parents, boosting feelings of exclusion and helplessness.
It is a political as well as economic challenge, as those lacking prospects often veer towards extremist and populist movements. Anti-democratic attitudes commonly emerge from a context of personal crises: a sense of being socially excluded and an inability to improve one’s lot often triggers
In Spain, Italy
Indeed, the latter group included Finland (20.1 percent)—highly praised for its school education—and Sweden (17.9 percent), which is the leader in the SGI economic-policy ranking. In its 2018 report on Sweden, the SGI country experts noted that ‘there has been
In Germany, young people and young adults gain hands-on experience of their future professions in companies, while completing the theoretical part of their training in vocational schools. Ideally, trainees should be taken on by the training company after their apprenticeship. Where this is not possible, they can use the experience gained during their apprenticeship to apply to other companies, thus easing their transition to working life.
Overall, the countries with a relatively high proportion of apprentices, such as Germany, Austria, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands
Among measures adopted by the EU in 2012 to combat high youth unemployment are transforming attitudes to vocational training and supporting reform of training systems to improve the quality of vocational training and the supply of training places. But success does not depend solely on the commitment of companies to practical training: a comparative country study by several German foundations and institutes also identified flexibility of training content, target-group diversity, high-quality vocational guidance and promotion of national and international mobility.
The ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work recommends that
Above all, for young people and young adults, work means more than just economic independence. It provides a sense of meaning—forging identities, networks
This article was translated from German by Jess Smee.
(Karola Klatt is a science journalist and an editor of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s SGI News and the BTI Blog.)
Young, educated and jobless
by Karola Klatt