How Can We Reach Full Youth Employment by 2030?

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PCI is leading an international team of experts to create a new edition of the Youth Job Creation Policy Primer, and your stories are key! Get your voice heard and support our generation. Chair of Trustees David Woollcombe tells us more.


PCI is leading an international team of experts to create a new edition of the Youth Job Creation Policy Primer. The project is headed by the Parliamentary Network for the World Bank, and the editorial team includes representatives of DFID, the World Bank, ILO, Plan International, Youth Business International, and many more.

The Primer will help government, UN and World Bank officials, development professionals and youth leaders.

If you have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions for how we can reach full youth employment by 2030, respond to [email protected] by Monday 9th January. Your name and ideas will be presented at the first team meeting on 10th January.

Learn more below.

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Purpose of the Primer:

  • To answer the question: “What do governments, policy-makers and international institutions like the World Bank and IFC have to do to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 8, Target 5: full youth employment by 2030?”

Audience of the Primer:

  • Members of Parliaments, government ministers, officials and policy-makers and officials of Institutions like the World Bank and IFC;
  • Development professionals in all fields
  • Opinion-formers in press and media
  • Youth leaders and individual youth interested in solving the problem of youth unemployment

Components of the answer to SDG question the Primer must address:

  • Communicate the scale and difficulty of the task that SDG 8 (5) sets us. It is monumentally hard to achieve: a million jobs a month needed in Sub-Saharan Africa alone; 200,000 jobs globally, every day between now and 2030.
  • Communicate the rewards and thus the desirability of achieving it, for as Justine Greening put it, ‘peak youth should equal peak growth’. The demographic imperative of accelerated job creation will, if harnessed effectively, yield massive economic and social dividends as it is achieved. The boost to the global exchequer from getting all youth into productive, ‘decent work’ is, according to the World Bank, between $3 to $5 trillion a year. Youth in work feel useful, happier and more stable. They are less likely to fall into crime or ‘dangerous behaviours.’ Youth in work in an accessible enabling environment pay taxes and licence fees; youth out of work are a drain on the state.
  • Summarise the consensus of answers to ‘what works in youth job creation?’ The Primer should include a digest of the recent experience of practitioners and the key directives yielded by the mountain of research conducted.

More issues to consider from YBI’s founder’s Youth Entrepreneurship Road Map

  • Regulation and the lack of an enabling environment. ‘Excessive red tape and bureaucracy provide a disincentive to young people starting a business and put an unsustainable burden on their new businesses.’
  • Un-matched skills training needs to end. ‘Centrally planned skills training is often not matched to market needs so young people often gain skills for which there is no market and therefore no jobs.’
  • ‘Cultural attitudes’ and mindsets need to change. ‘Becoming self-employed is not seen as a career,’ and ‘entrepreneurship is not valued in many societies in the same way as is, for example, a career in medicine, in law, in a large corporation or in government.’
  • Education is next. ‘The academic approach to education is not appropriate for an entrepreneurial career,’ and ‘most education systems teach traditional values of compliance to the norm rather than independent thinking or self-reliance….Teachers have little experience of self-employment or the skills and attitudes it requires.’
  • Business support and mentorship is needed. ‘Businesses in the start-up phase often cannot afford to pay for business support or advice…They need to learn to appreciate its value.”
  • Access to Capital is a problem, too. ‘Difficulty in obtaining start-up financing is the major impediment to young entrepreneurs seeking to create their own business.’

What do you think of all this? Here’s what you can tell us

  • National Examples: because we want this edition of the Primer to focus on what governments can do, we will feature countries that have succeeded in achieving low levels of youth unemployment by investing the funds in policies that work at scale.
  • Third Sector and Private Sector Initiatives that Work: projects that have the capacity to be scaled into national/global policies.
  • Conclusion: What should our ‘next steps’ be?

Share your thoughts, ideas or suggestions for how we can reach full youth employment by 2030 with [email protected] by Monday 9th January, and your name and ideas will be presented at the first team meeting on 10th January.


Background information

World Bank Meta-Analysis: the evidence from the projects analysed suggests the following:

  • Entrepreneurship-promotion, especially when combined with access to finance, activate the highest returns;
  • In rural areas, stimulating the market environment for growth of farms and rural agribusiness is effective
  • Reform of business environments and labour markets is linked to investment and employment growth;
  • Carefully designed skills training can improve youth’s employment prospects;
  • Youth participation is important, especially to understand their perspectives on the constraints they face.
  • Less effective interventions include investments in employment services and targeted formal employment interventions in places like South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa where so few formal jobs are available.

What Works in Youth Employment – Impact research indicates that effective policies that can be proved to trigger youth’s success in labour markets include:

  • Providing skills training, promote entrepreneurship and self-employment and employment subsidies;
  • Long-term strategic investments: positive impacts for youth employment are rarely instantaneous;
  • Country context and intervention design are important determinants of impacts:
  • Low- and middle-income countries show particularly tangible employment outcomes especially through skills training and entrepreneurship promotion;
  • Comprehensive employment strategies that integrate multiple services for youth are better able to respond to the multiple constraints facing young people in low- and middle-income countries;
  • Intervention design matters: adequate participant profiling, efficient follow-up and mentoring and results-based management and quality delivery enhance programme impacts.

Plan International UK’s Youth Economic Empowerment Pathways fosters strategic alliances with government, private sector and civil society to enable youth to access a range of services including:

  • core work and life skills
  • career counselling, mentorship and coaching
  • demand-driven vocational and entrepreneurship training
  • access to financial services and financial assistance
  • job placement and monitoring of working conditions
  • advocacy for more enabling work and business environments integrating behavioural change.

The World Bank and ILO literature assert that there is ‘much we don’t know.’ The ILO has an ‘Evidence Gap Map‘, which shows that information is lacking on:

  • Specific groups of youth – rural youth, young women, high-growth entrepreneurs
  • Youth-targeted public employment programmes
  • Evidence about specific design and implementation features – such as duration, delivery settings, relative benefits of different types of delivery etc.
  • Longitudinal studies – we know that impacts in youth job creation are rarely instantaneous but there have not – to date, been any longitudinal studies that inform about what interventions deliver positive impacts over the long-term

If you have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions for how we can reach full youth employment by 2030, respond to [email protected] by Monday 9th January. Your name and ideas will be presented at the first team meeting on 10th January.

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