A new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) reveals that the recovery of youth employment is slow to be felt, thus confirming that the Covid-19 pandemic has harmed young people more than anything other age group.
The total number of unemployed young people worldwide is expected to fall to 73 million in 2022, a drop of two million from the previous year, the Geneva-based UN agency said on Thursday. This figure represents a slight improvement on 2021 (75 million), but remains 6 million above the level of 2019, before the pandemic, indicates this report published on the occasion of International Youth Day.
Between 2019 and 2020, people aged 15 to 24 experienced a much higher percentage of job loss than the rest of the labor market, says the ILO. The share of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) in 2020 – the latest year for which a global estimate is available – rose to 23.3%.
Young women even more than young men
This is an increase of 1.5 percentage points over the previous year. This level has not been reached for at least 15 years, adds the ILO.
According to Martha Newton, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy, “The Covid-19 crisis has revealed a number of gaps in how the needs of young people are taken into account, in particular the most vulnerable such as new job seekers, school dropouts, young graduates with little experience and those who remain inactive not by choice”.
Among these young job seekers, women are less well off than young men. The report says 27.4% of young women are expected to work in 2022, compared to 40.3% of young men. This means that young men are almost 1.5 times more likely than young women to be employed.
Overall, the gender gap “has shown little sign of narrowing over the past two decades”.
Choice to withdraw completely from the labor market
Furthermore, the document shows large regional differences in the prospects of young people on the labor market. In Europe and Central Asia, the unemployment rate is expected to be 16.4%, “but actual and potential shocks from the war in Ukraine are likely to affect results”.
In Asia and the Pacific, the rate is expected to match the global average of 14.9%. In Latin America, it is expected to reach a “worrying” rate of 20.5%, while in North America the figure is expected to be 8.3%.
In Africa, the youth unemployment rate of 12.7% masks the fact that many young people have chosen to withdraw from the labor market altogether. More than one in five young people in Africa were not in employment, education or training (NEET) in 2020. “The trend has deteriorated,” argued the ILO.
Green, digital and care economy
But it is in the Arab States that the youth unemployment rate is the highest and fastest growing in the world, at 24.8%, a figure that rises to 42.5% for young women in the region. .
In total, the global youth unemployment rate is expected to reach 14.9% in 2022.
To alleviate this youth unemployment, the ILO relies on “green and blue economies (sustainable ocean resources)”. According to the report, 8.4 million additional jobs for young people could be created by 2030 through the implementation of green and blue policy measures.
The report estimates that achieving universal broadband coverage by 2030 could result in a net increase of 24 million new jobs worldwide, 6.4 million of which would be filled by young people.
“Green and blue” revolution and employment for young people
The document also highlights that investments in the care sectors would create 17.9 million additional jobs for young people by 2030.
In total, the joint implementation of measures in favor of the environment, digital technology and care would make it possible to increase the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 4.2%. Such an orientation could also create 139 million additional jobs for workers of all ages worldwide, including 32 million for young people.
In this regard, Martha Newton felt that “what young people need most are well-functioning labor markets, with decent job opportunities for those already in the labor market, as well as of quality education and training for those who have yet to enter it”.