"Giving young people the skills and tools to find a job is not only good for their own prospects and self-esteem, it is also good for economic growth, social cohesion and widespread well-being. That’s why investing in youth must be a policy priority the world over."
The global financial crisis has reinforced the message that more must be done to provide youth with the skills and help they need to get a better start in the labour market and progress in their career. Sharp increases in youth unemployment and underemployment have built upon long-standing structural obstacles that are preventing many youth in both OECD countries and emerging economies from making a successful transition from school to work.
Key elements of the OECD Action Plan for Youth
Read more about The OECD Action Plan for Youth - Giving Youth a Better Start
There is no doubt that fostering youth employability re-quires a comprehensive and forward-looking skill strategy; this is more urgent today as the global economic crisis has hit youth hard and many of them are still facing significant barriers to employment. But it has also become clear that efforts to achieve a better match between the skills youth acquire at school and those needed in the labour market may not per se be sufficient to improve labour
40% of youth indicate an interest in self-employment and governments have a substantial number of programmes in place to help them start businesses, including entrepreneurship education and training; information, advice, coaching and mentoring; financial support; and infrastructure including incubators and youth business networks.
Youth entrepreneurship is unlikely to be a panacea for solving the youth unemployment problem but it can be a part of the response. To maximise effectiveness and efficiency, policy should target resources on young people with the best chance of success, provide sufficient support to allow them to start businesses outside of low entry barrier but high competition sectors, and provide integrated packages of complementary support rather than one-shot instruments.
Financial literacy is a core life skill for participating in modern society. Children are growing up in an increasingly complex world where they will eventually need to take charge of their own financial future.
Read about our work on Financial education in schools
Long-term unemployment among youth has increased dramatically since 2007, with more than one in five young people aged 15-24 out of work for more than 12 months. Even countries that have escaped the worst of the crisis, such as Australia, New Zealand and Sweden, have seen a significant rise in long-term joblessness.
These figures do not capture the full hardship of youth, as many who have left education no longer appear in official unemployment statistics. Around 22 million young people are NEETs: not in employment, education or training. Two-thirds of them have given up looking for work and are likely to experience long periods of joblessness and lower pay than their peers over the course of their lives.
Compare youth unemployment and NEET rates