Globally, half of the labour force is working and producing in the informal economy. This work is often characterized by low pay, erratic hours, uncertain employment status and hazardous working conditions. A high proportion of these workers are young men and women, with evidence from twenty countries showing that more than three quarters of young workers aged 15-29 are engaged in informal employment. Decent Jobs for Youth aims to support young people currently working in the informal economy to make positive transitions towards formal employment.


Decent Jobs for Youth focuses on improving intermediation between employers and young people looking for their first formal job experience. This includes increased recognition of prior learning and upgrading informal apprenticeships so that they can be counted as real work experience. Innovative technology tools, such as electronic and mobile payment systems, are crucial for assisting young people in starting their first formal business, or in formalizing their ongoing entrepreneurial endeavours. By focusing on the transition to the formal economy, Decent Jobs for Youth complements wider action on the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204).


The ILO is committed to leading on this thematic priority. Decent Jobs for Youth brings together a growing number of partners who are committed to facilitating young people’s transition to the formal economy.


Action on Transitions to the formal economy

Support young people to obtain a formal job

Become a partner