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Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022 - Investing in transforming futures for young people

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Preface

The Global Call to Action for a Human-Centred Recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis That Is Inclusive, Sustainable and Resilient, adopted by the International Labour Conference in June 2021, affirmed that “[t]he crisis has profoundly disrupted the education, training and employment of young people, making it even harder for them to find a job, successfully transition from education and training to work, continue education or start a business and posing the risk of a reduced trajectory of earnings and advancement over the course of their working lives.” Corroborating these findings, the 2022 edition of the Global Employment Trends for Youth report takes a deep dive into the issues involved, exploring both the challenges and opportunities facing young people in the world of work.

Young people have been disproportionately affected by the economic and employment consequences of the pandemic and, as highlighted in this report, the pace of recovery of youth labour markets in many countries and regions is falling behind that of the labour market for older workers. The difficulties faced by young people have recently been compounded by conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere contributing to the emergence of additional challenges such as surging food and energy prices and less favourable financing conditions, particularly in developing countries. As we stand at the midpoint between 2015, when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established, and 2030, the year by which they were originally meant to be achieved, these recent negative developments are jeopardizing progress – in particular, towards SDG target 8.6: to substantially reduce the proportion of young people not in employment, education or training.

As the world seeks to address these challenges, we must also focus on longer-term priorities, such as environmental and digital transformations, and investment in the care economy, which were already clearly needed before the pandemic. This report explores the implications for young workers of these transformations, which are also central to the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions launched by the United Nations Secretary-General in September 2021. The latter initiative seeks to support the creation of millions of decent jobs, primarily in the green and care economies, and to extend social protection floors to people currently not covered by any social protection.

The scale and scope of the socio-economic policy response to the COVID-19 crisis were unprecedented. However, all too often the assistance provided to young people lagged behind the substantial support offered to more established workers. As governments, employers and workers take stock of the lessons learned from the crisis and the response measures adopted to address its enduring impacts, the 2022 edition of Global Employment Trends for Youth provides a valuable tool for the design of employment and labour market policies directed at young people that can prevent deeper economic and social scarring and promote a better future of work for all.

Martha Newton

Deputy Director-General for Policy