Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labor market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts.
One reason for youth unemployment is structural unemployment, a mismatch between the skills that workers in the economy can offer and the skills demanded of workers by employers. Structural unemployment affects all regions around the world and it impacts not only economies but also hampers the transition to equitable and inclusive societies envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Skills development is a primary means of enabling young people to make a smooth transition to work. Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.
World Youth Skills Day
In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 15th July as World Youth Skills Day. The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment.
World Youth Skills Day 2021
The theme for 2021 World Youth Skills Day is "Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic".
World Youth Skills Day 2021 will again take place in a challenging context due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- UNESCO estimates that schools were either fully or partially closed for more than 30 weeks between March 2020 and May 2021 in half the countries of the world. In late June, 19 countries still had full school closures, affecting nearly 157 million learners. And 768 million more learners were affected by partial school closures.
- Respondents to a survey of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions jointly collected by UNESCO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Bank reported that distance training had become the most common way of imparting skills, with considerable difficulties regarding, among others, curricula adaptation, trainee and trainer preparedness, connectivity, or assessment and certification processes.
- ILO estimates show that globally, youth employment fell 8.7 per cent in 2020, compared with 3.7 per cent for adults, with the most pronounced fall seen in middle-income countries. The consequences of this disruption to the early labour market experiences of youth could last for years.
World Youth Skills Day 2021 will pay tribute to the resilience and creativity of youth through the crisis. Participants will take stock of how TVET systems have adapted to the pandemic and recession, think of how those systems can participate in the recovery, and imagine priorities they should adopt for the post-COVID-19-world.
Did You Know?
- Young people aged 15-24 have been even more severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis than adults. Globally, youth employment fell by 8.7 per cent in 2020, compared with 3.7 per cent for adults.
- Young women have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to young men.
- Prior to the crisis, 22 per cent of young people were not in employment, education or training (NEET), one in seven young men and one in three young women. The decline in employment caused by the COVID-19 crisis has not been compensated by returns to education and training. Hence, the NEET rate has risen in many countries and remains higher than before the crisis.
- TVET stakeholders have been able to limit the disruption of training caused by the COVID-19 crisis. A survey of firms showed that across countries, activity sectors and firm sizes, remote training became more prevalent during the crisis, despite difficulties including poor connectivity and low levels of digital skills. Most firms indicated they would draw lessons from that experience and modify the way they deliver training to their employees after the crisis is over.
- Enterprises and organizations brought skills development almost to a standstill due to lockdown measures introduced during the pandemic. Training was interrupted for 86 percent of apprentices and 83 percent of interns/trainees. Nearly half of the enterprises have stopped paying stipend or wages to apprentices, interns and trainees.
- Looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis and recovery is essential. The youth population will grow by more than 78 million between 2021 and 2030. Low income countries will account for nearly half of that increase. Education and training systems need to respond to this challenge.