Employment is the foundation of our economies - without work, societies would not be able to prosper and develop. Some jobs are as ancient as the history of mankind, for example, agricultural work, whereas other jobs are emerging by the day with technological development, such as jobs in the IT sector.

Depending on the profession and geographic location, work can look very differently. The formal economy encompasses jobs where workers have formal contracts with employers, have fixed working hours and receive a defined salary and social benefits - usually, this is referred to as decent work. The informal economy encompasses work that isn’t monitored by any form of government and therefore, people often have to work under precarious and undecent working conditions.

Youth employment encompasses all elements that are connected to creating decent work for young people around the world, such as education, training, apprenticeships, internships, job creation etc. Unfortunately, since the economic crisis in 2008, experts talk about a “global youth employment crisis” - youth unemployment and underemployment are skyrocketing, there is a stark mismatch between skills that are demanded on the labor markets and skills that young people acquire in education, and too many young people work in the informal sector under precarious conditions.

What’s the solution to the crisis? Certainly, a joint response by all actors is needed - governments, social partners (workers and employers) and young people need to intensively collaborate in creating and promoting decent work for youth. At the same time, young people will have to increasingly create their own jobs by looking for entrepreneurial opportunities and becoming leaders in economic and social innovation.

Researching issues connected to employment, you might want to check out these resources:

International Labour Organization - Youth Employment

The Youth Employment Network - A Network for Youth

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - Skills and Work for Life

Impact Hub - The Social Innovation Space

Idealist - International Job and Internship Opportunities for Idealists

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