United Nations Report: World Youth Deeply Concerned about Employment Prospects, Call for Increased Investment

6 February 2012

United Nations Report: World Youth Deeply Concerned about Employment Prospects, Call for Increased Investment

6 February 2012
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Report: World Youth Deeply Concerned about Employment


Prospects, Call for Increased Investment


Young people around the world are deeply concerned about a lack of job opportunities and are calling for increased investment in that area, according to the latest World Youth Report, issued today by the United Nations.

In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the global youth unemployment rate saw its largest annual increase on record in 2009, resulting in around 75.8 million unemployed youth.  “Today, we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon.  “They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and political life.”  He went on to declare: “We need to pull the United Nations system together like never before to support a new social contract of job-rich economic growth.  Let us start with young people.”

For the first time, inputs gathered from young people around the world through an extensive online consultation form the core of the report, entitled “Youth Employment: Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times”.  Published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the report also outlines the situation of young people in the labour market, as well as trends in youth employment.

Young people and representatives of youth-led organizations were invited to share through digital and social media platforms, their views, experiences and recommendations on preparing for, entering and remaining active in the workforce.  A total of approximately 1,100 contributions (as well as photos and videos) were received from young people around the world during the four-week consultation period.

The report reveals that young people are worried about the quality and relevance of their education, as mentioned by Amadou, a 24-year-old man from Senegal: “Today it should be easier to find a job because our generation is the most educated, but there is an inadequacy between the training offered and the needs of the labour market,” he said.  Other subjects of concern include job vulnerability, labour migration, delayed marriage, the rural divide, as well as age, gender and racial discrimination.

But opportunities offered by green jobs, new technologies and entrepreneurship contribute to providing hope to young people, who also underline the need to be proactive and keep a positive outlook in order to find decent jobs, as expressed by Leo, 28 years old, from Spain: “We need to innovate, to risk, to create, to search.”

Through this process, participants also had the opportunity to interact online with United Nations Youth Champion Monique Coleman, and the Special Adviser on Global Youth Issues to the United States Secretary of State, Ronan Farrow, about their own experience and advice.

The report is available in English, online at www.unworldyouthreport.org, where, for the first time, readers are invited to interact and share their reactions.  A panel discussion on youth employment was held from 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. on 6 February at United Nations Headquarters to launch the report and examine the role of youth, Governments and the private sector in addressing youth employment challenges.

Press Information

Mélanie Prud’homme, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel: +1 917 367 3541, e-mail: prudhommem@un.org; and Charlotte Scaddan, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel: +1 917 367 9378, e-mail: scaddan@un.org.  For United Nations Media Accreditation, visit www.un.org/en/media/accreditation.

Available Interviewees

Gail Gershon, Executive Director, Community Leadership, Gap Inc. (English), gail_gershon@gap.com; Sarah Huxley, Child/Youth Specialist, Lead Moderator of the e‑discussion (English), sarahhuxley@hotmail.com; Sergio Andrés Iriarte Quezada, Knowledge Sharing Officer, Youth Employment Programme, International Labour Organization, Geneva (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German), iriarte@ilo.org.

Youth Contributors to e-Discussion

Yasmyn Camier, 24 years old, Guadeloupe (English, French), yasmyn.camier@gmail.com; Emad Karim, 28 years old, Egypt (English, Arabic), emad.karim7@gmail.com; and Ayshah Maende, 27 years old, Kenya (English, Swahili), mwanaishamaende@gmail.com.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.