Last update: Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11pm
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Not enough decent work: The dilemma of the youth

Youth-issues-employmentWith the developing world home to 87 percent of the worlds youth, challenges for youth employment differ greatly between developed and developing economies. At the core, the problems facing youth employment the world over are not solely limited to the generation of job opportunities alone; the challenge is to improve the quality of jobs available to them too, an issue which is of least priority specifically in developing countries. In a country like Pakistan therefore, the unemployment rate alone does not capture the full extent of the difficulties facing the young people on the lookout to begin their careers- youth which has little or no social safety nets to fall back on in case of unemployment and has therefore, no option but to accept any job offer that comes their way. Consequently, the youth in our labour market is not only under employed, but those who do manage to find work usually do so at the cost of their productivity- working underpaid or temporary jobs, working longer hours than normal and usually below their educational and skill levels. In an e-discussion on youth employment open worldwide to participants aged between16-30, United Nations solicited opinions on the overall situation of the young people in the labour market from the people who are at the crux of the situation- the youth themselves. In its report titled, "World Youth Report 2012", the UN cites that a majority of people who took part in the discussion opine that apart from finding a job itself, job instability, and a lack of prospects for advancement are some of the biggest issues facing the youth in the labour force. "Young people who are able to find a job must accept an extremely low salary. Some employers are using this as an opportunity to exploit the youth" says Parth a 24-year of from India. The recent economic downturn has also meant that the young people are the ones on which the last-in, first-out policy is generally applied- they are the last to be hired and the first to be dismissed. With less experience and a smaller skill set than adults who have worked in the labour market for quite some time, young people who are just looking to begin a career are naturally at a disadvantage. Additionally, a large number of respondents felt great frustration at the increasingly high job competition, resulting in what they term as "un-attainable job requirements." "In the past, a Bachelors degree was enough to set one apart in certain employment sectors. Nowadays, young graduates are expected to possess a Masters degree in addition to several years of work experience in order to obtain an entry level position" says Georgina, 25 from UK. Any young Pakistani graduate, faced with the a deadly Sunday newspaper loaded with wanted ads citing Master level education as a pre-requisite to get an appropriate entry-level job will echo the same sentiment, something that has lead to a large number of fresh graduates being forced to engage in informal employment such as call-centers and free-lance writing. Consequently, a lack of decent work opportunities right out of graduate school means that a majority of Pakistans educated youth face a delayed transition from work to school. This delay, according to experts, can lead to an "erosion of skills" and overall "lower life-time earnings", something which bears grave consequences to the overall well being and personal development of the countrys youth.