The dichotomy of youth labour markets in developed and developing economies

Labour market experiences and the quality of jobs for young people differ significantly between developed and developing countries.

(Mouse over the charts to see the data)

*The chart compares data on youth labour market situations regular and irregular employment, unemployment (relaxed definition) and inactivity in four least-developed countries (LDCs) – Cambodia, Liberia, Malawi and Togo – and four high-income European countries Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.

A more detailed disaggregation

The charts below compares the youth population distribution in these countries according to the traditional and the alternative -more detailed- labour market frameworks.


The chart on the left shows the traditional distribution of the youth population by current activity status (employed, unemployed or inactive) while the right one presents a more detailed disaggregation of the youth population in the following four categories:
  • regular employment, defined as wage and salaried workers holding a contract of unlimited duration (in the case of high-income countries) or a contract of duration greater than 12 months (in the case of the LDCs) plus self-employed youth with employees (employers);
  • irregular employment, defined as wage and salaried workers holding a contract of limited duration, i.e. set to terminate after a period of time (less than 12 months in the case of the LDCs and undefined in the case of the high-income economies), self-employed youth with no employees (own-account workers) and contributing family workers;
  • unemployed (relaxed definition), defined as persons currently without work and available to take up work in the week prior to the reference period;
  • the residual inactive youth.
Levels of economic development are strongly reflected in the shares of youth in irregular employment and inactivity.