Magazine article World of Work

Somavia Puts the Accent on Youth Employment

Magazine article World of Work

Somavia Puts the Accent on Youth Employment

Article excerpt

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos ILO Director-General Juan Somavia called for a new policy paradigm to promote inclusive job-rich growth for the almost 75 million unemployed youth aged 15-24 worldwide.

Speaking at the panel on "Averting a lost generation" at the Forum, Mr Somavia said the youth employment crisis had reached unprecedented and intolerable dimensions, with four out of 10 unemployed in the world being either a young woman or man.

He said a major driving force behind the youth crisis was a slack in aggregate demand at the global and, in some cases, national level. He said it was time to concentrate on pro-employment strategies for youth that would eventually sustain consumption, boost demand, promote growth and create more jobs.

This is not only an agenda for governments but also for the business and private sector, Mr Somavia said, adding that the number one constraint for small and medium-sized companies for hiring youth is the lack of credit access.

The ILO Director-General also referred to the critical role of education and training, especially in times of crisis, saying that governments should work closely with the private sector to reduce skills mismatches. Some CEOs attending Davos have commented on the difficulties of filling certain posts despite high levels of unemployment.

Mr Somavia cited Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Switzerland, which offer dual systems of apprenticeships combining school-based education with in-company training as successful skill-matching examples. …

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