A new report out from the International Labour Organization features contributions from five researchers at UNU-MERIT. Along with the ILO’s youth employment specialist Drew Gardiner, Micheline Goedhuys collaborated with Alison Cathles, Chen Gong, Michelle González Amador and Eleonora Nillesen.
The report begins with two main questions: How can young people around the world – even the most marginalised – navigate the fast-moving currents of modern labour markets? How can UN agencies, national governments and partners help young people in to decent, lasting employment? The short answer is this: create policies that are truly fit for purpose, policies that match ambitions with demands and skills with requirements.
The backdrop was stark even before the arrival of COVID-19. More than 20% of young people are not in employment, education or training, and three-quarters of those are women. Moving from school to work has become increasingly difficult, with the global youth unemployment rate rising to 13% in 2020. And for the so-called ‘lucky ones’, three-quarters of young workers are employed in the informal economy, which in turn explains the high rates of working poverty among young people, especially in the Global South.
If young people are to benefit from the changing world of work, shaped as it is by climate change and technological advances, they need to be prepared both in terms of skills attainment and overall ambitions. If career aspirations and life goals of youth are not considered, employment policies aiming to ‘match’ skills with labour market opportunities may continue to fail young people.
This report was undertaken as part of the ILO Future of Work project and aims to (i) review the literature on the concepts and drivers of aspirations; (ii) develop a conceptual framework that relates labour market conditions to aspirations; (iii) map the existing survey-based evidence on the aspirations of youth worldwide; and (iv) provide insights into how to improve data collection, research and evidence-based policymaking related to young persons aspirations.
Download the report via this link or view it directly below.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.