Publications

World Youth Report on Youth Civic Engagement

The responsibility for finding solutions to the problems affecting young people – such as unemployment, low representation in political processes, and social exclusion – lies largely with Governments, according to a United Nations report on youth engagement released today.

The World Youth Report on Youth Civic Engagement, compiled by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), explores young people’s participation in economic, political and community life, and is intended to serve as an impetus and tool for policy discussion between youth and government.

On economic engagement, the report notes that unemployment affects more than 73 million young people around the world, with the jobless rate exceeding 50 per cent in some developing countries. In low- and middle-income countries, underemployment in the informal sector is considered the primary employment challenge among young people.

In addition, inadequacies in skills and education, the lack of support for entrepreneurship, and diminishing labour rights have negatively affected youth economic engagement.

The report warns that an increasing number of companies and organizations are offering, often full-time and unpaid, internships for recent graduates. In many of such incidents, internship is not necessarily linked to specific educational outcomes, but replaces the work of regular paid workers.

“In addition, it is now not uncommon for young people to undertake numerous back-to-back unpaid or low-paid internships as they struggle to gain a foothold on the career ladder,” the report says. “Far from better preparing young people for economic life, unpaid internships have the potential to leave youth in an economically more vulnerable position than they would be in had they never undertaken the internship in the first place.”

As such, many young people are calling for stronger regulations and the development of benchmarks for quality internships to avoid exploitation, the report says.

Governments often promote youth entrepreneurship while failing to stimulate wider employment creation through robust strategies, “unfairly” shifting much of the responsibility for job creation from the larger public and the private sector to young people.

Source: UN News Centre

Follow Us