Invest in youth or lose a generation, ILO says

The International Labour Conference calls for urgent action to tackle the jobs crisis that affects 75 million young men and women across the globe. Political commitment and innovative approaches are needed.

Actualité | 14 juin 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) - The world risks losing a generation if it fails to urgently address the youth employment crisis, the ILO said in a Call for Action on the youth employment crisis adopted at its May 30-June 14 International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva.

Facts and Figures on the Youth Employment Crisis

  • 75 million young people are jobless - 4 million more than in 2007. 
  • 6 million of them have completely given up looking for a job.
  • Of those who are working, more than 200 million earn less than two dollars a day.
“Unless immediate and vigorous action is taken, the global community confronts the grim legacy of a lost generation,” delegates said in the report.

The document lists measures governments can take, with support from employers and workers, such as addressing skills mismatches, improving apprenticeship systems and promoting youth entrepreneurship.

The delegates called on “governments, the multilateral system, the G20 and all relevant national, regional and international organizations” to tackle the issue, with the ILO taking a leadership role.

“A great deal has been learned about how to address barriers young people face to transition into the labour market, but in many countries ineffective macroeconomic and other policies have not delivered enough jobs in general and for the youth in particular.”

The document highlights the dire figures of the crisis: 75 million young people are jobless - four million more than in 2007. Six million of them have completely given up looking for a job. Of those who are working, more than 200 million earn less than two dollars a day.

The ILO has an important role to play in the process. “It must support action by governments, social partners and the multilateral system to address the youth employment crisis and promote decent work for youth, ” the report says, adding that “political commitment and innovative approaches are critical to improve the situation.”


New Call for Action to tackle the Youth Employment Crisis

Watch interviews with officials and highlights from the ILC session in which the resolution was adopted

Youth representatives participate in a side debate moderated by Sophy Fisher on youth employment at the 101st International Labour Conference