International Labour Conference 100 Youth Debate

This Youth Debate at the International Labour Conference 100 brings together young leaders from across the globe to share their views about key elements that impact young peoples’ transitions to and within the labour market.

The focus will be on decent work and productive employment from the perspective of the school-to-work transition; technological change, including new forms of work and lifelong learning; and gender equality, rights and voices.

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Education across the globe has seen dramatic improvements in accessibility, quality and quantity. However, the lack of employment opportunities for youth presents a major global challenge. 59.3 million youth are unemployed worldwide. Young people remain less likely to be employed compared to adults. In 2018, the global youth unemployment rate was at 11.8 per cent, almost three times higher than the adult rate of 4.3 per cent. Even when young women and men find jobs, quality remains a concern. Over 40 per cent of the world’s youth are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty. In addition, an estimated 21.8 per cent of young people are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET), most of them female. Globally, the female NEET rate is 34.4 per cent, compared to 9.8 per cent for males. 

Automation, digitalization and new technologies also pose new challenges as the relevance of education and training is now limited over time. Technology not only affects the ways we organize the production of goods services. It also affects how young people learn and develop new skills. Adapting learning models to new technologies will be essential to guarantee relevant skills for lifelong employability. As new forms of work arise such as those in the gig economy, young people need to be equipped to navigate an already complex labour market. Moreover, governments and social partners should ensure that young people benefit from basic social protection and guarantee their fundamental principles and rights at work.

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