Pathways for Youth Employment: Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era


The youth employment crisis is a global development priority. The youth demographic ‘bulge’ (a staggering 3 billion people under the age of 25, with 1.2 billion of them aged 15–24), a stubbornly high youth unemployment rate, a significant proportion of the working poor in vulnerable employment, and a high level of economic disengagement, together can create disaffection, drive migration, incite social unrest and slow progress towards development goals.

The least developed countries are particularly vulnerable to the combined effects of the youth demographic bulge and the high youth unemployment rate, which is disproportionately elevated compared to the rate of other age groups. In Africa, three out of five young people are unemployed, while in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the youth unemployment rate is six times that of adults. Available data suggest that, even during periods of economic growth, many economies have failed to absorb large youth populations in their labour markets and have hence fallen short of translating growth into greater economic opportunities for youth.

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    September 19, 2019