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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8048
JPY
USD
118.04
GBP
USD
0.6382
CAD
USD
1.1270
INR
USD
61.892

Rates may not be current.