UN75 Dialogue with the Secretary-General "Youth in the Driving Seat" A view of the audience in a UN75 Dialogue with Secretary-General António Guterres and youth on the theme "Youth in the Driving Seat". 29 January 2020 United Nations, New York Photo # 837135

Global Online Dialogue on “Navigating uncertainties: An intergenerational dialogue on COVID-19 and youth employment”

Today’s youth face the unique challenge of managing their personal development and transition to adulthood amid more uncertainties than usual. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), COVID-19 has impacted job prospects for the world’s 1.2 billion young people. This demographic – 15 to 24 years old – faced an unemployment rate three times higher than adults before the crisis. However, this situation has not stopped young people from taking concrete actions to support other community members affected by the pandemic, as well as concretely contributing to the pandemic response and recovery.

Society as a whole benefits from young people’s smooth transition to adulthood. Evidence-based inclusive policies supporting young people during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ensuring their meaningful participation in decision-making processes related to the pandemic’s response and recovery, are essential. In addition, actions to build back better taken by young people themselves need to be recognized, highlighted and supported.

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) invited young people to an intergenerational dialogue where they shared their concerns about finding jobs in a worsening market and discuss ways forward. The online forum “Navigating uncertainties: An intergenerational dialogue on COVID-19 and youth employment” offered young people an opportunity to discuss the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic during this period of their lives when many things are in flux.

Members of older generations shared their experiences from making the school-to-work transition amid challenging situations of the past. A brainstorm on innovative solutions toward decent employment for youth, and how different generations can work together to ease the school-to-work transition of today’s youth will follow. In this discussion, participants considered:

 How is the pandemic affecting today’s youth employment right now?
 How are youth thinking about their future in the short-, medium- and long-term?
 What actions are young people already taking today to address the employment challenge?
 What are some of the key approaches that should be scaled-up and replicated? How can other generations support these approaches?  How can Member States partner with young people to ensure an optimal response and recovery from the pandemic, especially from a youth employment perspective?
 What are some of the key policy changes that would quickly open doors to young people looking for employment or taking the entrepreneurship path?

Watch video of the event below: