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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.