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Youth job skills are fostered by quality education systems and employers that invest in human capital, and are the key to thriving markets that develop individual potential and offer long-term pathways out of poverty. Investment in youth job skills by public and private systems develops society’s next-generation contributors, and is a critical lever for development in low-income areas.

Size/Magnitude of Problem

Youth unemployment has direct implications for political stability, regional violence, and poverty levels globally.i There are currently a larger number of young people in the world than ever before in history, and youth bulges, population growth and urbanization are changing the global job landscape at a rapid pace.ii It is estimated that reducing the youth unemployment rate by 1% would add $75 billion to the global economy.iii

  • As of 2016, 71 million unemployed youth make up over 35% of the world’s unemployment. The global adult unemployment rate is 4.5% while the global youth unemployment rate is 13.1%.v
  • As of 2016, working poverty (living on less than $2 per day) affects 156 million young workers in the developing
  • Roughly 25% of the youth population aged between 15 and 29 are neither employed nor in education or
Desired Equilibrium

Public education systems and private markets equip society’s youth with skills, job pathways, and ambitions to succeed as valuable members of society. Quality public education systems incorporate 21st century skill sets into curricula, while private markets invest in young talent through job training and long-term growth paths. As a result, healthy local markets offer equal access to quality, secure employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities for every youth.

Ways Skoll social entrepreneurs are addressing the issue:
  • Embedding 21st century life skills and training into the secondary and post-secondary classroom (Camfed, INJAZ al-Arab, Pratham)
  • Creating support networks of resources and training for marginalized youth outside of school systems (Center for Digital Inclusion, Manchester-Bidwell Corporation, YouthBuild USA, Friends-International)
  • Combining skills training with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities (Fundacion Paraguaya, Digital Divide Data, Friends-International)

i World Economic Forum
ii International Labor Organization (link)
iii World Economic Forum (link)
iv International Labor Organization (link)
v International Labor Organization (link)
vi International Labor Organization (link)

Critical Geographies
Youth Unemployment

As defined by World Bank (> 40% of total labor force ages 15-24)
Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, South Africa, Macedonia, Serbia, Libya, Mauritania, Croatia, Italy, Palestine, Swaziland, Egypt, Mozambique