News / Economy

Global Youth Unemployment at All-Time High

UN agency says 81 million young people are unemployed around the world
UN agency says 81 million young people are unemployed around the world

Multimedia

Carla Babb

The United Nations says global youth unemployment is at an all time high. In a recent report, the UN's International Labour Organization says 81 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed, and youth unemployment is expected to rise throughout the year.

Merri Shaffer is unemployed. She's searching for a job, like many of the 81 million other young people out of work worldwide. 

"I've been looking, I've been hunting, a lot of online research. A lot of job sites that I feel are coming up completely leaving me empty handed," Shaffer says.



The economic downturn is hitting young people more than others, according to Elena Gastaldo of the UN's International Labour Organization. 

"In these days, young men and women are three times more likely to be unemployed than their older counterpart," Gastaldo notes.

In developed countries, like here in the U.S., nearly one young person in every six is unemployed.  But as the report shows, youth unemployment is a global problem.  It affects all types of economies, in every region of the world.

Global Youth Unemployment at All-Time High
Global Youth Unemployment at All-Time High

Young people in the Middle East and North Africa have the highest rate of unemployment.  See an interactive map of youth unemployment in the Middle East

American University professor Diane Singerman says the explanation is simple.

"There is a youth bulge in the Middle East, which means that a very high percentage of the population is young," Singerman explains.

Major Reasons for Youth Unemployment in the Middle East

  • There is a youth bulge in the Middle East, which means that a very high percentage of the population is young. In fact, more than 30 percent of the population is between the ages of 15-29, representing more than 100 million youth.
  • Education is not delivering jobs for young Middle Easterners. They are educated, but not in things that are necessarily where the jobs are. Some say, "young people are hedonistic, young people are Westernized, young people are lazy," but you have to look at what types of choices the governments have made to educate those people in ways that they will be able to have the skills and the talents to figure out their careers.
  • Gender expectations play a role. Young women in the Middle East are three times more likely than men to be unemployed. If women are not making a lot of money in the first place, and they feel vulnerable at work, and then on top of it, they are criticized by some for not keeping up their domestic duties, some of them feel it is not a rational decision for them to work.
  • Young people often feel repressed in the Middle East. If governments want young people to contribute and want their energy, they need to invite them in and give them a voice.

-From VOA's Interview with Diane Singerman

In Egypt, the most populous country in the Middle East, the government used to guarantee jobs for all college graduates, but no longer. And many of its graduates are not sufficiently qualified for the private sector jobs that exist.  

Gender also plays a role in the Middle East. Fewer than one in three young women there is employed, even though women are generally more educated than men.  

"The idea is that women should be educated, but they should be educated to take care of their children," explains Singerman.

Galstado says the outlook for young people all over the world is bleak.

"Young people, particularly in times of crisis, are the last to be hired and the first to be fired," she says.

She adds that young people have two strikes against them:  they lack a large network and also work experience.

Merri Shaffer says young people should be given an opportunity to get the experience employers are looking for.

"It's incredibly annoying. It's incredibly frustrating," says Shaffer. "It's hard knowing that that could always be used against us when walking into the interview room or when sending out our resumes and cover letters."

But she won't give up the hunt.

"My dad continues to tell me that looking for work is a full-time job, so eight hours a day, maybe a little less than that, I'm searching, I'm shoveling resumes and cover letters out there, I'm still doing the best I can," Shaffer says.

Many young people like Shaffer hope the job market recovers soon, so their time and talents aren't wasted.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.