Investing in the young is the best way to recover from the Covid economic crisis

Young people face an uncertain job market and employment or income loss during COVID-19, but are critical to our economic recovery
Young people face an uncertain job market and employment or income loss during COVID-19, but are critical to our economic recovery. |
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The COVID-19 pandemic has upended and laid bare the inequities in our global economic and social systems. It has made clear that some of the most vulnerable populations and undervalued professions in our society are not only the hardest hit during times of crisis but also the ones we rely upon the most.

Across the globe, the pandemic has had a particularly severe impact on youth employment owing to disruptions to education, job layoffs and income losses and increased barriers to job market entry. For those young people who are still pursuing education, the pandemic is likely to result in unprecedented new inequalities upon graduation.

There are more young people in the world than ever before and they are critical members of the global society driving forward ideas, innovations and movements. Youth are also on the frontlines of other major economic transformations across the global economy, including digitalization, automation, climate action and others. We believe in the opportunity for a Great Reset – our society has the capacity to rise to this challenge. If we seize this, much as we did in the aftermath of World War II, we know a better, more equitable, compassionate, prosperous global economy is possible.

The numbers on youth employment are in

According to the COVID-19 Risks Outlook Report, 49.3% of senior risk experts believe high levels of structural unemployment, especially among youth, is one of the most likely consequences of the pandemic; 43.8% believe this to be an area of great global concern.

The recent ILO survey on youth unemployment also finds that youth around the world have been severely and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis, especially young women. More than one in six young people are out of work as a result of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 178 million youth are employed in sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic and are facing layoffs and 131 million of these young people are informally employed.

The survey also finds that young women are “more likely to experience significant challenges in combining their job with an increased amount of unpaid care work.” Furthermore, for many young women who already face various forms of economic marginalization, there could be compounding challenges or disenfranchisement.

Also read: Colleges tap tech to calm students paying thousands of dollars for online classes

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