The number of young people globally who can’t find a job this year is set to reach 73 million – that’s a full six million more than before Covid-19, the UN labour agency said. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the pandemic has caused many additional problems for 15 to 24-year-olds who’ve experienced “much higher” unemployment losses than older workers since the global health emergency was declared in early 2020.
Young women have struggled more than their male counterparts to find work, while Arab nations are expected to see the highest levels of youth unemployment by the end of the year, compared to the global average. “We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on youth labour markets around the world,” said Martha Newton, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy. “It’s exposed a number of shortcomings in the way the needs of young people are addressed, especially the most vulnerable first-time job seekers, school dropouts, fresh graduates with little experience and those who remain inactive not by choice, she said.
Speaking at the launch of ILO’s report, ‘Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022: Investing in transforming futures for young people’, Newton said the share of youth not in employment, education or training in 2020 rose to 23.3 per cent. That represents an increase of 1.5 percentage points from 2019 and represents a level not seen in at least 15 years, the ILO report found.
“This group of young people are at particular risk of seeing their labour market opportunities and outcomes deteriorate also over the longer-term as ‘scarring’ effects take hold,” the report noted.
The report’s takeaways include the worrying finding that young women are worse off than young men when it comes to finding a job. This year, fewer than three in 10 young women globally are expected to be in work, compared to well over four in 10 young men.
“The gender gap, which has shown little sign of closing over the past two decades, is largest in lower-middleincome countries, at 17.3 percentage points, and smallest in high-income countries, at 2.3 percentage points,” the ILO report stated. Latest labour data scrutinised by ILO also indicated that only high-income counties are likely to see a recovery in youth unemployment levels “close to those of 2019” by the end of this year. In lower-income countries, youth unemployment rates are projected to remain more than one percentage point above pre-crisis values
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