Sarah Huxley, Lead moderator
Sarah Huxley has been passionately and actively engaged in youth focused development work since 1999. She has worked for a range of organistaions including small NGOs, international agencies, DFID and the UN. Much of her work has involved designing and implementing projects, programme management and policy research in Nepal, Uganda & the UK. Sarah's special areas of interest and expertise include participation, youth policy, gender, education and protection.
Week 1: Sergio Andrés Iriarte Quezada, ILO
Sergio Iriarte Quezada is the Knowledge Management Officer of the International Labour Office’s (ILO) Programme on Youth Employment. Previously, he worked at the ILO’s Evaluation Unit contributing to the assessment of national and regional projects and programmes. With a background in economics and development, Sergio has been working with youth employment issues since 2008.
Weekly Key Questions
Days & themes
Tue – Wed
1) What are the important positive and negative employment trends among youth that you have observed in your community/country?
Inclusion and diversity
2) Which young people are benefiting and which are losing out in your country? Which social groups are particularly excluded & why? (e.g. rural youth; girls, etc.) What specific examples can you share on the different ways that ‘marginalised’ youth have overcome barriers of participating in the job market?
3) How are young people participating and adding value to achieving decent work/jobs for all in your city/town/locality?
Thur – Fri
New areas for youth employment
4) What are the up and coming areas for youth employment in your country? (e.g. green jobs, entrepreneurship, social media/ICTs etc.)
5) Youth employment and wellbeing – what have been the positive/negative impacts of your job on your family life? Please explain. (marriage, starting a family, health, living arrangements etc.)
The Week 1 discussion is now CLOSED. It is no longer possible to add new comments, but check out the homepage to contribute to the current discussion. For those of you who have not had time to read all of the comments from the week, please find a summary of the discussion below, which is also available here in a PDF version.
Week I Summary
There were more than 300 comments received on the topic of youth employment trends from all corners of the world, including, for example, Costa Rica, Latvia, Senegal, and India from young women and men aged 16 to 30. Almost all respondents shared their negative experiences: focusing on the difficulty of finding a job. However, and fortunately, there were also good and successful experiences of young people finding productive and decent work. There were several contributions from youth who are in the process of finishing their studies. They are concerned about the perceived skills mismatch to labour market needs.
Please find below a summary of last week’s contributions:
1) What are the important positive and negative employment trends among youth that you have observed in your community/country? For example: Have you seen that today it is more difficult to find a job, even temporarily? Are there any changes to your working arrangements or conditions, including salary?
The main concerns are:
• Lack of quality in education
• Reduced opportunities for part-time jobs during studies
• Opportunities limited to internships or volunteering after completion of studies
• Lack of opportunities in the labour market due to skills mismatch. For instance, in Kenya, young graduates are not finding jobs because firms are looking for more technical skills. Therefore, young people are accepting internships in order to acquire knowledge in other areas then those of their studies.
• Migration abroad due to lack of opportunities within home countries
• Decreasing salaries and poor conditions of work, such as inadequate insurance, longer work hours and lack of security
• Gender inequality
• Greater support of Governments is required (in creating and enforcing policies and laws)
2) Which young people are benefiting and which are losing out in your country? For example: What specific examples can you share on the different ways that “marginalized” youth have overcome barriers of participating in the job market?
• The majority of contributors identified rural youth as the hardest hit by unemployment and lack of skills.
• Contributors from developing countries, and in particular from Africa, mentioned that corruption and family networking represent a barrier/disadvantage to most, as only those people who are well placed in society and who are connected to government appear to access decent jobs.
• The most vulnerable groups as described by contributors are women, youth from poor families, unskilled youth and rural youth. This depends on the region (rural-urban) but also on the country (culture). For instance, in some cases, girls are excluded from the labour market, even if change is underway and more opportunities are opening to young girls, as seen in some job notices in which women are encourage to apply (e.g. Senegal).
• Some experiences showed that migration can be a way to find new opportunities elsewhere. “Brain-drain” is also a concern for youth, for example the rural to urban migration from the Out Islands to the capital city/island in the Bahamas and externally to larger countries. Other participants mentioned the difficulty they, or someone they know, were facing abroad. For instance, young migrants from Latvia to the United Kingdom had to accept jobs with low salaries and for which they were overqualified because their university degrees were not accepted in the hosting country.
3) How are young people participating and adding value to achieving decent work/jobs for all in your city/town/locality? For example: How have you directly contributed to employment policies/forums, etc.? What changes has this had?
• Despite less attention given to this question than to others, entrepreneurship was mentioned with regard to contributing or adding value to achieving decent work. Most of the young entrepreneurs mentioned that they had inherited their business from their parents. In this way, it remains a family business and is considered as self-employment.
• In recent years, the number of successful youth entrepreneurs has risen. In some cases, such as the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia, these young people gather together and share their experiences and lessons learned.
• On the other hand, the participants also indicated that it is very difficult to create a new business from scratch, due to lack of credit and trust in young people.
4) What are the up and coming areas for youth employment in your country?
• The main area where respondents are finding greater opportunities continues to be information and communications technologies (ICTs).
• Contributors were increasingly interested in the topic of green jobs, which was introduced in the discussion. They explained that people are hesitant to engage in this sector because it is emerging, even though it represents a potential area for job creation. A good example presented was in Brazil, where green technology is needed. Universities are working on developing green jobs with the objective of fostering environmentally friendly activities in the energy sector along forests and coasts.
5) Youth employment and well-being – what have been the positive/negative impacts of your job on your family life?
• One of the first benefits associated with employment is the potential for independence. Leaving one’s parents’ home seems to be of crucial importance. This is due to, among other things, a feeling of responsibility and the possibility of creating a new family. Staying at home could create frustration.
• When the rate of unemployment is high, young people are discouraged from getting married because they cannot afford to start a family. Due to their precarious status in the labour market (e.g. insecure jobs, low salaries, temporary work), in most cases, youth cannot even manage to satisfy their own needs, such as having enough food for the month, renting/buying a place to live, etc.
Please join us on Tuesday, 18 October, for Week II of the e-discussion which will focus on Preparing for Work. I am pleased to welcome Ms. Maria Cavatore of Plan International, who will be your new moderator for Week II.