The global estimate for the number of unemployed youth starts at 75 million, and that figure is multiplied by three when the underemployed are included. A “skills mismatch” is a commonly cited reason for youth unemployment and a result of education systems that fail to produce graduates with the skills demanded by employers. It is time to reframe the problem if we hope to reduce youth unemployment.
Through our Workforce Connections project, we are thinking beyond supply-side, education-centered solutions to focus on economic analysis and business strategy tools, which until now have been dramatically underused.
Using a labor market assessment framework, we look at five policy dimensions constraining youth employment — macroeconomics; trade and investment; labor and social protection; education; and structural factors — that countries must address if they wish to undertake reforms to stimulate youth employment. We use global trade data to identify which sectors are likely to create jobs and qualitative information to understand whether the informal sector grows cyclically or counter-cyclically with these sectors. This allows us to map high-growth sectors and highlight youth entry points and relevant skills.
To develop the capacity for these sophisticated analyses, our trainings offer tools to engage multiple stakeholders, and we provide technical assistance to project designers on how to make the business case to employers for investment in skills.
The Workforce Connections project contributes to a larger FHI 360 effort to increase global employment, which includes matching people to jobs through projects like the Iraq Opportunities Project (USAID-Foras).
Project: Workforce Connections
We are thinking beyond supply-side, education-centered solutions to focus on economic analysis and business strategy tools