The Bleak Landscape Of Youth Employment

Unemployment is a problem and an even bigger problem for young people. There are over 73 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who are without work even though they are actively seeking for jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), youth unemployment rate is close to three times higher than adult unemployment.

youth unemployment

While youth unemployment rates vary across different regions in the world, the issues remain the same as the young people who are affected are unable to secure sustainable productive work. In the Middle East and North Africa, close to 30% of young people are without jobs. The situation is worse for young women in those regions, this is because over 50% are unemployed, irrespective of their level of education. 

youth unemployment rates by region

An 11.6% unemployment rate for young people in Sub-Saharan Africa might seem low compared to those of other regions, but it does not tell the full story. A closer examination will reveal that two-thirds of the young people in this region are in vulnerable employment while nine out of ten youth are in informal employment. This figure tends to cloak the reality that underemployment and working poverty is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Nigeria, youth unemployment currently stands at 42% while 53% of young people in South Africa are jobless.

youth unemployment in Nigeria

Apart from the effects of unemployment on financial and mental well-being, youth unemployment stokes the fires of crime and social unrest. For example, the popular uprisings in some Arab countries are tied to the increasing rate of unemployment among the young people in those regions. Resentment, reinforced by the inability of the youth to access viable employment and quality education led to an active search for change through a collection of demonstrations, rebellions, and armed conflicts.

Therefore, the consequences of unemployment are far-reaching and extremely dangerous, considering that young people, the greatest demographic in the world, bear majority of the burden.