Unemployed Youth Calls for Attention From Davos

The global crisis of youth unemployment dominated the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday where the British journalist Nik Gowing noticed that “keeping calm and carrying on is simply not an option”.

The session “Shaping Davos: Engaging Youth in Work” was organized by the Global Shapers Community, the initiative network of the World Economic Forum, aiming at helping young people around the globe contribute to their community. In the stage influential leaders like Global Managing director of McKinsey & Company Dominc Barton and Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote discussed about what they described at one of the biggest current issues in our times.

“There is a sense that youth unemployment is more of a cocktail conversation right now but we need to start seeing this as a pandemic,” commented mr Barton adding that “it’s an issue that business needs to be worried about. If we don’t deal with it we’re not going to be able to operate in the way we need to.”

The session took place in the aftermath of a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) showing that the global market is expected to deteriorate in the upcoming years with young people paying the price of the global financial crisis and its aftermath. The report “World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015” indicates that by 2019, more than 212 million people will be out of work, up from 201 million now.

Eurozone is the most affected advanced economy with US and Japan to see improvement in their state of employment. ILO warns that “in several advanced economies, where inequalities historically have been much lower than in developing countries, income inequalities have worsened rapidly in the aftermath of the crisis and in some instance are approaching levels observed in some emerging economies.”

With such big part of the population to be left out of the work market, the rise of social unrest seems inevitable according to the report. “Social unrest has gradually increased as joblessness persists. It tended to decline before the global crisis and has increased since then. Countries facing high or rapidly rising youth unemployment are especially vulnerable to social unrest.”

Aliko Dangote, president and CEO of Nigeria-based conglomerate Dangote Group noticed also that unemployment can cause destruction to the society adding that the issue needs to be attacked on all front. He highlighted that the government, private sector and civil society need to do something more than just “talk shop.”

He also added that some modes of education were outdated, and graduates have seen their jobs supplanted by advances in technology. The solution, according to him, is to increase vocational and technical training and entrepreneurship.


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