Estimates suggest that nearly a quarter of the world’s youth, aged 15 to 24, are out of work. While South Asian women, representing a quarter of that quarter, do not seek work for cultural reasons, much of the world’s youth are the unfortunate recipients of turbulent times. “In the rich world, it is estimated that a third of under-24s are on temporary contracts; in developing countries a fifth are unpaid labourers or work in the informal sector. That is better than not working at all, but is hardly cause for celebration. In total, nearly half of the world’s young are contributing to the labour market less effectively than they could be.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Perhaps the most successful country in combating the scourge of youthful unemployment is Germany, which focuses on providing high school students with vocational training and apprenticeships that are naturally coupled with professional connections. Countries which choose to ignore the problem do so at their own peril. “Those who begin their careers without work are more likely to have lower wages and suffer joblessness again later in life. The economic loss can be substantial, too, and not just in the form of higher welfare payments. Part of these losses may be due to missing out on training and experience accumulation that typically occurs with young workers.”