The youth employment crisis is one of the greatest perils facing the global economy today. Young people around the world – in industrialized, emerging and developing economies alike – face acutely high levels of unemployment, low wages, poor working conditions, and obstructed pathways to economic mobility.
Policymakers, private sector stakeholders, and civil society leaders are increasingly recognizing the urgency of this historical moment and the necessity of improving young people’s employment outcomes. They face a dual imperative: getting youth back to work quickly to avoid the mounting social and economic costs to this generation in waiting, while at the same time introducing structural reforms that can secure the promise of quality employment for future youth generations. But while the challenge and potential consequences of today’s youth employment crisis is well explicated, and the stream of promises from politicians to fix the problem has begun, policymakers are still struggling to understand which combination of strategies will be most effective in addressing the epidemic.
This report examines what some governments, companies, and civil society groups are currently doing to improve youth employment outcomes, and with what effect. The strategies presented here are diverse; they are being tested in different geographies, with different youth populations, and seek to tackle different supply- and demand- side issues in the labor market. For this reason, the authors of this report do not propose that any one solution will work everywhere. Instead, the aim is to illustrate the range of different interventions that have the potential to help young people lead more productive lives, identify advantages and pitfalls of particular strategies, and consider the lessons they offer to policymakers going forward.