BizNEWS

Employment Prospects of Asia - Pacific’s 660 Million Young People are Severely Challenged

Diep Nguyen
BizLIVE -

They will be hit harder than adults and risk bearing higher longer-term economic and social costs. The report urges governments to engage with young people in policy and social dialogue and to adopt urgent, large-scale, and targeted interventions.

Employment Prospects of Asia - Pacific’s 660 Million Young People are Severely Challenged
Photo: Atimes
The report—a collaborative effort between the International Labour Organization and ADB—finds that the employment prospects of the region’s 660 million young people are severely challenged. They will be hit harder than adults and risk bearing higher longer-term economic and social costs.
The report urges governments to engage with young people in policy and social dialogue and to adopt urgent, large-scale, and targeted interventions. These need to focus on labor market policies such as youth-targeted wage subsidies and public employment programs, and measures to mitigate disruptions to education and training.
Key messages from the report are as followings:
Young people’s employment prospects in Asia and the Pacific are severely challenged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth will be hit harder than adults in the immediate crisis and also will bear higher longer-term economic and social costs. Before the pandemic, young people were already facing challenges in the labour market. These are worsened by the COVID-19 crisis, and its multiple effects threaten to create a “lockdown generation” that will feel the weight of this crisis for a long time.
Nearly half of young workers in the region are employed in the four sectors hit hardest by the crisis. This is one of the reasons that young people face greater labour market disruption and job loss than adults due to COVID-19. And it is compounded by forced suspension of education and training, which will affect youth’s transitions to and within labour markets and could result in “scarring effects”, as seen in previous crises.
Youth unemployment rates in the region are rising quickly. Projections through the end of 2020 in 13 countries show sizable jumps, with youth unemployment rates doubling the 2019 rate in some cases.
To address the youth employment crisis, governments in the region urgently need to adopt large-scale and targeted responses, centered on (1) comprehensive labour market policies including wage subsidies and public employment programs, and (2) minimizing the impacts on young students of disrupting their education and training. Effective COVID-19 mitigation measures will ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable youth are reached and that young people are meaningfully engaged in policy and social dialogue.
Prioritizing youth employment and maximizing youth productivity in the COVID-19 recovery process will improve Asia and the Pacific’s future prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth, demographic transition and social stability. When young people feel empowered to earn a living through fulfilling work, and their energy, creativity and talents are nurtured, they can take up their roles as active, engaged citizens. This contributes to a positive cycle of economic growth, investment and social justice.

DIEP NGUYEN