ILO to host conversation on youth employment challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean in times of COVID-19

Increased unemployment, informality and inactivity can disproportionately affect young women and men. The ILO will address these issues in a virtual conversation with young people and representatives of employers' and workers' organizations on August 12.

News | 11 August 2020
11 August 2020 (Lima, Peru) -- On Wednesday, August 12, the ILO will host a virtual conversation to address the challenges of youth employment in times of COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean, warning that the crisis disproportionately affects millions of young women and men in the regional workforce.

The online meeting will be hosted by the ILO Regional Office for the Latin America and the Caribbean to mark International Youth Day.

The event will start at 5pm Eastern Caribbean Time. Media can attend by registering here:

The ILO emphasizes that the pandemic has a triple impact on young people. Not only does it destroy their jobs, it also disrupts their education and training, and creates significant obstacles for those seeking to enter the world of work to start their career path.

For years, the ILO has highlighted the need for policies that specifically address the youth employment challenge, which is characterized by high unemployment, informality and inactivity.

At the end of 2019, ILO data indicated that before the arrival of COVID-19 in the region, there were some 52.7 million young people who were part of the workforce with a labour participation rate of 48.9 per cent.

The youth unemployment rate in 2019 had risen to a worrisome level of 17.9 per cent. Additionally, available data indicated that informality affected around 60 per cent of young workers in the region. It was also noted that around 20 per cent of young people, which is the equivalent of approximately 23 million people, did not study or work.

Lessons learned from previous crises indicate that young people are often affected more severely and quickly than other groups, which could lead to higher unemployment, informality and inactivity due to the unprecedented emergency caused by COVID-19.

The ILO has stated that it is necessary to take immediate and significant measures to improve the employment situation of young people, and prevent the effects of the virus from being present for decades. On the other hand, youth talent and energy will be essential to rebuilding a better economy in a post-COVID world.

This virtual conversation will bring together young people from Latin America and the Caribbean, including representatives of employers' and workers' organizations, to discuss their own vision of the measures that could generate a better future of work.

The conversation will focus on:

  • Discussing the future of youth work #postCOVID
  • Exploring public policy alternatives: what young people are asking for
  • Good practices: what works for young people
  • Skills of tomorrow: education and training for a sustainable world
  • Entrepreneurship and empowerment: the future belongs to the young
  • Social dialogue: how to build a possible future

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