Published October 2016

What stands between youth and decent jobs?

More youth seem to prefer staying in school to getting a job early in life. That’s good news. Yet more than 200 million young people are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty.

Explore this InfoStory to learn more about global employment trends for young people and what stands between them and a decent job.

School enrolment is on an upswing

With more young people in school, fewer youth are working or looking for a job. This means that the youth labour pool is shrinking.

Where the jobs are – and aren’t

Despite a mild recovery in recent years, youth unemployment has remained above its pre-crisis levels and is expected to rise again in 2016.

Regional trends vary widely depending on gender, income levels and education enrolment.

When dropping out is the only option

Regardless of increasing school enrolment, millions of youth in low-income countries are still taking jobs at early ages.

Early school leaving goes hand in hand with poverty.

Making the move from school to work

Globally, most youth still wait an average of 19 months to find a stable or satisfactory job.

This reflects a difficult transition from education into work, carrying risks of skills deterioration and discouragement.

Overeducated or undereducated?

Higher numbers of young people in developed economies are taking jobs for which they are overeducated. Yet undereducation is the bigger issue for low-income countries. This means the young person loses out on valuable skills and the economy forfeits higher productivity.

Added to this, overeducated young people can take jobs away from those with less education.

Being poor despite having a job

More than one-third of working youth in developing economies lives on less than US$3.10 a day.

Three in four young workers in low-income countries have an “irregular” job. Nine in ten work in the informal economy. None of these scenarios defines decent work.

Helping youth find decent work

Investing in youth employment requires a collaborative approach to prioritizing job creation while helping youth to overcome their specific disadvantages through skills and labour market policies.

Interventions must promote job growth, skills development, make self-employment easier and ensure better working conditions, social protection and rights at work.

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