Data presented at a G20 meeting in Geneva recently shows that youth unemployment rates remain alarming, ranging from about 8 per cent to over 50 per cent in 17 of the 20 member countries.
The G20 Task Force on Employment agreed to promote quality apprenticeships.
The youth jobs situation remains critical, with 17.7 million young people - or just over 16 per cent - unemployed in 17 of the G20 countries for which data is available, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported.
Over the last 12 months the youth unemployment rate has increased in 10 countries whereas the employment to working age population has declined in 12 countries, according to an ILO document presented at a G20 Task Force on Employment meeting.
Youth unemployment rates
8-11 per cent in Australia, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico.
15-18 per cent in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the Russian Federation, Turkey, the United States.
21-23 per cent in France, Indonesia, the United Kingdom.
35-52 per cent in Italy, South Africa, Spain.
The data does not include figures for China, India or Saudi Arabia.
The task group expressed commitment to promoting and strengthening apprenticeships as a proven means of transitioning soundly between learning and work.
The General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the Secretary-General of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), both expressed strong support for the goal of promoting apprenticeships and said they planned to lead national consultations.
The share of young women and men in apprenticeships varies greatly from country to country. Germany leads in this field, with close to half of all 16-24 year olds in apprenticeships, while other countries achieve levels of below 20 per cent, according to another ILO document presented at the meeting: Overview of Apprenticeship Systems and Issues.
The ILO’s call for action
The ILO call for action on youth employment calls on governments and the social partners:
- To foster pro-employment growth and decent job creation through macroeconomic policies, employability, labor market policies, youth entrepreneurship and rights to tackle the social consequences of the crisis, while ensuring financial and fiscal sustainability.
- To promote macroeconomic policies and fiscal incentives that support employment and stronger aggregate demand, improve access to finance and increase productive investment – taking account of different economic situations in countries.
- To adopt fiscally sustainable and targeted measures, such as countercyclical policies and demand-side interventions, public employment programs, employment guarantee schemes, labor-intensive infrastructure programs, wage and training subsidies and other specific youth employment interventions. Such programs should ensure equal treatment for young workers.