THE FUTURE AHEAD “Youth involvement has moved forward.
It is no longer seen as a rebellious act, the way it was a few decades ago.” Maureen A. Sedonaen. INTRODUCTION. Think about any sort of revolution, youth comes into the picture as an icon to propagate the fuel of revolution. It the youth on whose shoulders, the future of every nation rests. A businessman retiring from his job does not handle down his position to any elderly person; rather he gives this position to someone young and having capability to run the business efficiently. Who comprise that segment of young people? The obvious answer is the youth. Every nation, which inches ahead with the hope of progress and development, relies upon the contribution of the youth. The share of youth in the development and progress of a nation is the foretaste of the viability of its development. The more the share of youth in national development, the stronger are chances of its rapid development. The level of enthusiasm and dedication that the youth can provide to the system is unmatched. But despite various efforts by several nations as well as the United Nations, the problem of youth unemployment seems to have gone through the roofs. To keep the zeal, skills and hope pristine in the coming generations, there lies an onerous task on the nations and the internationals bodies to fulfill the task of youth unemployment. Given the problem of youth unemployment and thinning up of the future hopes of employment, the youth seems to adapt the ways that are open to destruction, i.e., crime. Moreover, they have also moved to the informal employments, which stand between the marginal line of employment and unemployment. It is not fair to say that the government and the international bodies are only sitting and watching the entire scene. These bodies have come with some schemes to cope with the situation. But the problem still lies with the implementation of these schemes. But apart from the government actions, the youth-led solutions for abating the problem of youth
unemployment have substantial part to play. The persistent problem of youth unemployment has to be addressed, and adoption of macroeconomic policies has to be taken recourse to in order to help stimulate economic growth and increase the demand for labour. The vulnerability of the youth unemployment has also to be taken into consideration. In sum, the global labour market has been adversely affected by the youth unemployment. It is not only the case with the developing nations, even the developed systems in the world are also suffering with the same problem.
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT. Youth Unemployment refers to the situation where a number of youths in a place (a state, a country etc.) are economically active and willing to work but have no job. Youth Unemployment hinders development in any country. Given that youths form a large part of the economically active population of a nation, youth unemployment greatly affects the labour force or manpower of any country. According to the ILO, there are more than 1 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and 85 per cent of them live in developing countries1. Many of these young people are in the process of making, or have already made, the transition from school to work. A recent report of the ILO says that 160 million people in the world today are unemployed and there are some others who are subsisting on the margins of the economy or have jobs that do not provide them with adequate means to ensure their survival. Nearly 40 per cent of those without work are young people, and levels of unemployment tend to be two to three times higher for this group than for the adult population2. Even those young people who are employed, many find themselves in lowpaying temporary jobs with few protections. With the world population projected to grow by 110 million during this decade and with technological advances leading to further “rationalizations” of labour demand, some 500 million new jobs have to be created within the next 10 years merely to maintain the status quo 3. In the present situation of job creation, there lies little hope that growth on this scale can be achieved. What has made the situation graver for young people is huge imbalance between the supply of young workers and the demand for their labour thanks to the demographic trends. The current picture shows that a chunk of young people are in the employment but that employment is uncertain and may not provide an income sufficient to cover basic necessities. In industrialized countries, due to the demand for a flexible workforce and the increased use of part-time and temporary employment contracts a heightened sense of insecurity and risk has emerged.
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE: Committee on Employment and Social Policy http://www.ilo.org/public/english//standards/relm/gb/docs/gb286/pdf/esp-5.pdf (last visited 1 Mar. 2010). 2 ILO, Key Indicators of the Labour Market 2000-2001 (Geneva, 2001). 3 ILO, Meeting the Youth Employment Challenge: A Guide for Employers (Geneva, 2001).
In developing countries, a rising number of young people work in the informal economy, where they earn low wages and are often subjected to poor or even exploitative working conditions. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT- WHAT THE DATAS SAY. While young people between the ages of 15 and 24 comprise around 18 per cent of the world’s population, they represent around 41 per cent of the unemployed4. In the span of period between 1995 and 1999 youth unemployment rose by 8 million 5, and some 70 million young people are currently without work6. Moreover, the rate of unemployment among youth is typically two to three times the adult rate. During times of recession, however, the rise in youth unemployment tends to be more substantial in comparison to the concurrent increase in adult unemployment. It has been estimated that a 1 per cent increase in adult unemployment will be matched by a 2 per cent rise in unemployment among young people7. All these figures point out that many employers view youth as more expendable if lay-offs and downsizing become a necessity. This occurs as a consequence of difficulties surrounding the initial school-to-work transition, the relative insecurity and inexperience of new workers, and the frequent job changes undertaken in an attempt to find secure and satisfying employment. VULNERABILITY OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT. 1. Increasing share of females. So far the question of share in youth unemployment is concerned, females tend to be far more vulnerable than males. In a review of youth unemployment in 97 countries, more young women than young men were unemployed in two-thirds of the countries; in a quarter of these countries, female unemployment was more than 20 per cent higher than male unemployment, and in
ILO, Key Indicators of the Labour Market 2000-2001. ILO, Youth and work: global trends. 6 ILO, Meeting the Youth Employment Challenge: A Guide for Employers. 7 P. Makeham, Youth unemployment, Department of Employment Research Paper (London, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1980); and N. O’Higgins, Youth Unemployment and Employment Policy: A Global Perspective (Geneva, ILO, 2001).
around half of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean unemployment rates for female youth exceeded those for young males by more than 50 per cent8. 2. Qualified and unqualified youth. In many countries, education and vocational skills have succeeded to provide some protection, with young people who have advanced qualifications being far less likely to experience unemployment— particularly long-term unemployment. In the more developed countries, the differences of unemployment for qualified and unqualified young people have been increasing, leading to a greater differentiation in experiences among young people. 3. Factors causing decline in employment. Market has the factors of demand and supply. Same applies in the labour market. In the less developed countries, it is educated rather than uneducated young people who are most vulnerable to unemployment, as there is insufficient demand for skilled higher-wage labour. Some Other factors that make young people more susceptible to unemployment include a lack of basic skills (especially literacy and numeracy), disabilities, criminal convictions, membership in ethnic minorities, and responsibility for the care of children or other relatives. CAUSES OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT. Though in some economies, low level of unemployment may exist, it may also indicate towards the existence of a weaker youth labour market as a result of the extended participation in high education of the young population. Education and training policies can thus inextricably linked to patterns of unemployment. Moreover, the high ratio of informal to formal economy employment in developing countries precludes an accurate accounting of the number of youth who are actually jobless. Higher unemployment tends among young people than among adults can be attributed to the existence of “job queues”. As new entrants to the labour market, young people may have to stand in the queues and wait for jobs. They are likely to be hired only when there is a relatively high aggregate demand for labour because employers often prefer experienced workers.
Youth Employment, www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/ch02.pdf (last visited 2 March 2010).
Other significant factors relate to the higher levels of job-changing among young workers, to redundancy policies based on the “last-in, first-out” principle, state policies and intervention, lack of information, discrimination, and the lower levels of job protection afforded to new workers, related as a reason for immigrant youths. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. High levels of youth unemployment have been a source of concern because of its adverse impact on young people’s lives. Several studies of young people have shown that unemployment have been the cause of reduction in self-esteem, diminished levels of wellbeing, and frequently isolation from peers9. In many countries a chunk of young people encounter a period of unemployment, hence the experience is often short-lived, and jobs are secured with little external intervention. Youth unemployment turns grave when it becomes long-term and when it leaves young people in a situation, where they have no means to provide for their basic needs. In some countries in Eastern Europe, more than half of the young people who are unemployed have been out of work for over a year, a situation the ILO describes as “alarming”10. What brings the focus on the long-term unemployment is processes of marginalization and exclusion among youth. Long-term unemployment leads to social exclusion, but it can be evaded by high levels of social or financial support may reduce the chances of exclusion. Youth unemployment affects us in many ways: 1. Most youths choose the way of crime and become the part of the set of people involved in crime and also become the root of youths are mostly and social vices in the society. A large number of youths commit crime which can be consequence of their unemployment status in the society. A youth having nothing to earn his bread would definitely switch to these ways. 2. As a result of youth unemployment, the youth can be exploited politically also.
P. Warr, Work, Unemployment and Mental Health (Oxford, Clarendon, 1979). ILO, World Employment 1996/97: National Policies in a Global Context (Geneva, 1996).
3. Youth unemployment can be termed to be one of the causes of low per capita income of people in the population, which also affects our per capita income negatively. 4. Due to youth unemployment, yield and output is relatively usually low, which in turn results in inflation in the prices of the available goods and services. 5. Youth Unemployment causes a slow growth in the economy of a nation. 6. Youth Unemployment affects the government in economic planning of the nation because the government pays more attention to the unemployed youths while neglecting other important sectors of the economy like the health sector, education sector e.t.c. 7. Youth Unemployment leads to high rate of terrorism, youth participation in terrorism is high in the world. 8. Youth Unemployment destroys the image of a country. 9. Youth Unemployment leads to migration of youths (emigrating from their area of origin to an area of destination in search of jobs or better jobs). It leads to the drain of energetic, skilled and innovative human resources from an area, state or country which also has a consequently negative effect on agricultural labor, depletion of the resources base necessary to improve and maintain social services in an area, siphoning off adults adversely affecting communal efforts and community development. YOUTH-LED SOLUTIONS. Various strategies can be devised on how to tackle youth unemployment through youthled solutions, they include the following: 1. Making the youth self dependant and not relying upon the company vacancies. It includes the information about the ways to be self-employed. 2. Encouraging the youth to form a group of unemployed people and help themselves by opening an institution on the set-up of the Self Help Groups (SHGs).
3. Facilitating the credit facilities to the unemployed youth by way of contribution of a small sum of earnings by their parents or friends. This sum must be used to set up a small and cottage industries which involve nominal capital. 4. Teaching the youths on how to setup Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which would yield profit to the youths and make them employed. Examples of Micro and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) which can serve as jobs or provide self employed jobs for the youths include the following: 1. Cottage Food Processing Enterprises; 2. Cottage Arts and Crafts; 3. Wood Processing and Furniture; 4. Leather and Leather Products; 5. Basic Metal, Metal Fabrication and Engineering Practices; 6. Solid Mineral Enterprises; 7. Electronic and Information Technology Enterprises; 8. Building and Construction Enterprises; and 9. Oil and Gas Related Goods and Services. 5. Educating the youth on the various available established financial agencies and institutions that are setup in order to give out credit or loans to people who intend starting up (MSMEs). 6. Given that at present, a substantial chunk of youth is available on the virtual world of internet; a community on the internet must be promoted to get the available job vacancies filled by the unemployed youths. 7. Since the youths who have made transition from schools lack the level of experience in the field of job, the idea of internship under the experienced persons will hold its worth. 8. Governments can direct investment to sectors that are more employment intensive, by creating investment incentives. Labour-intensive manufacturing industries, including garments and textiles, electronics, leather products and food processing, have traditionally provided a key source of employment opportunities in developing countries. As these industries can produce for the world market,
incentive structures (including tariff arrangements and exchange rate policies) and the global trading system can contribute to employment growth by facilitating the flow of exports of these goods. 9. Public works projects have traditionally been an important source of new jobs for vulnerable groups such as youth. Industrialized countries have also emphasized upon public works projects as a source of new job creation for youth. 10. Other measures to promote jobs for young people touch upon policies that grant private sector employers various incentives for hiring youth. These incentives can be in the form of tax rebates, wage subsidies or youth wage rates, or provisions for loosening employment regulations. RECENT TRENDS IN YOUTH EMPLOYMENT. It’s essential to put focus on the recent trends in the youth employment. Through it, the problem of youth unemployment can be well studied. The recent trend brings into light the shift in the demand for youth labour towards either low-paying service sector jobs or higher-skill professional jobs, which has resulted in the emergence of a new form of labour stratification. A recent study shows that the youth participation in the workforce has given rise to a new form of sector, the intermediary zone, a growing sector occupied by large numbers of young people in both the more developed and less developed countries. Youth working in this zone are between the worlds of employment and unemployment. The downside of this sector is that the youth may be engaged in the informal economy and be denied employment rights and security. Alternatively, they may try to survive through subsistence self-employment or through part-time and casual jobs. According to the ILO, wages in the informal economy are 44 per cent lower than those in the formal sector11. The reality, though, is that the majority of young people worldwide work in the informal sector. In 1999, 78 per cent of Ghana’s labour force was engaged in this type of employment; the same was true for 57 per cent in Madagascar and 56 per cent in Bolivia. The ILO has estimated that in Africa 93 per cent of new jobs are in
ILO, Youth and work: global trends
the informal sector, while in Latin America virtually all new jobs for young people are being created in this sector of the economy12. INTERNATIONAL STAND ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT. The World Youth Report 2005 has observed that the labour force participation rates for young people decreased in the world as a whole by almost four percentage points between 1993 and 2003. This is mainly the result of an increase in the number of young people attending school and staying longer in the educational system, generally high unemployment rates, and because some young people drop out of the labour force as they lose hope of finding work. International Labour Organization (ILO) figures show that youth unemployment in the world increased from 11.7 per cent in 1993 to an historical high of 14.4 per cent (88 million) in 200313. The international bodies like the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation have taken stand against the problem of youth unemployment. At the 91st plenary meeting of 1995 on World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, the UN adopted following objectives14:
Opportunities for self-employment. It requires the Governments and organizations to create or promote grant schemes to provide seed money to encourage and support enterprise and employment programmes for young people. Businesses and enterprises could be encouraged to provide counterpart financial and technical support for such schemes. Cooperative schemes involving young people in production and marketing of goods and services and the formation of youth development banks could be considered. The Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives was encouraged to develop models for cooperatives run by youth in developed and developing countries. Employment opportunities for specific groups of young people. Within funds designated to promote youth employment, Governments should, as appropriate, designate resources for programmes supporting the efforts of young women,
ILO, Key Indicators of the Labour Market 2000-2001. Youth and the United Nations: World Youth Report http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/wpayemployment.htm#footnote13 (last visited 3 Mar. 2010). 14 UN General Assembly: A/RES/50/81, also available http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/50/a50r081.htm (last visited 3 Mar. 2010).
young people with disabilities, youth returning from military service, migrant youth, refugee youth, displaced persons, street children and indigenous youth.
Voluntary community services involving youth. Governments were required to consider the establishment of voluntary service programmes for youth. Such programmes could provide alternatives to military service, or might constitute a required element in educational curricula, depending on national policies and priorities. Youth camps, community service projects, environmental protection and inter- generational cooperation programmes should be included among the opportunities offered. Needs created by technological changes. Governments, particularly those of developed countries, were required to encourage the creation of employment opportunities for young people in fields that are rapidly evolving as a result of technological innovation. A subset of the employment data compiled by Governments should track the employment of youth into those fields marked by newly emerging technologies. Measures were required to be taken to provide ongoing training for youth in this area. Special attention was to be paid to developing and disseminating approaches that promote flexibility in training systems and collaboration between training institutions and employers, especially for young people in high-technology industries.
The ILO also took the note of the problem. From 31st May, to 16th June 2005, the ILO held its 93rd annual conference. The conference debated the issue of how to increase employment levels among young workers. The conference also stated that young people in work are often underemployed, or engaged in informal, intermittent and precarious forms of work, such as part-time, temporary, casual or seasonal work that ‘does not value their potential’. Delegates considered an ILO report on youth employment, prepared for this conference, which outlined national and regional initiatives that aim to create opportunities for young people. Examples were taken from the UK, Uruguay, Canada, Senegal and the Republic of Korea; the EU’s employment strategy was also cited as a
positive contribution. The conference’s committee on youth employment concluded that ILO initiatives to promote youth employment should be practical and based on building knowledge, the promotion of young workers' rights in line with international labour standards, and technical assistance. Following these debates, the conference delegates adopted a Resolution on youth employment15. CONCLUSION. Going through various issues touching upon the youth unemployment, it can be summed up that the long-term youth unemployment can be hazardous for the nation as well for the coming generation. The intermediary zone of employment though appears to have quelled the problem of unemployment. But it has denied the youth to realize its full potential. Given the denial of several rights and benefits in this zone, the viability of this employment sector can be challenged. There is another way open for the youth that involves the self-employment. But before entering into that field, the youth must go through its pros and cons. It is only we, i.e., I, you and our government, along with the international cooperation, who have take initiative to resolve the problem. Because, the youth unemployment affects the present generation and thus its scuppers the progress of our society.
EIRONLINE: ILO holds 93rd conference: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/2005/07/feature/eu0507204f.htm (last visited 3 March 2010).