Youth Unemployment Needs Attention


Kamran Ahmed Soomro

Youth make the most significant part of the world population. They are the most active, diligent, creative, contributive, innovative and energetic people out there. They can prove more productive and constructive in any field of life. But the irony is that a large portion of them around the world are unemployed and they cannot find any suitable job according to their expertise. Youth Unemployment has been and increasing trend for many years not only in the developing countries but also in the developed ones. The ILO (International Labour Organisation) also said the number of unemployed youth worldwide increased by 10.2 million in 2009 compared to 2007, the largest hike since 1991. In South Asia, the youth unemployment reached 9.9 % in 2008 from 9.8% in 1999, and was highest in 2005 (10.4%). According to the “Pakistan Employment Trends 2008: youth” by the ILO, the Youth in Pakistan also represents a group which faces severe challenges and disadvantages in the labor market. In recent years, unemployment, inactivity and difficult employment conditions have hit them hard. Many lack adequate earnings and productive work and carry a high risk of economic and social uncertainty.

Pakistan is a developing country with estimated GDP of $166.5 billion (2009) and GDP per capita $2,600 (2009). Its economy is primarily based on agriculture: 20.8% on Industry: 24.3% onServices.Pakistan has a literacy rate of approximately 49.9% in which Male constitute 63% and female 36% (2005). Besides bundles of socio-economic problems, unemployment and specially youth unemployment is the major issue of our nation. Pakistan, a country where there is always a situation of social, political and economic turmoil, it is a very difficult for youth to find a job that suits their nature. According to the ILO “Country Report for Symposium on Globalization and the Future of Youth in Asia” in 2004, the youth population of Pakistan was 39.16 million, out of which only 16.04 million were employed, and 2.04million were unemployed. Now it is 2010, the youth population has increased giving birth to more youth unemployment in the country. With a birth rate of 25.89 births/1,000 population (2009) the population has been growing dramatically, but the rate of economic growth and social development is not at a similar pace. This gap generates a challenging environment for the job market as well. More and more youth enter into the working age population, but there is limited and insufficient capacity for their intake.

Impact on the Youth:

Youth are themselves highly affected due to the unemployment. They have to bear the negative comments and ill talks of the people who consider them useless members of society. Young people become the victim of adverse attitudes of people. Their self-esteem is highly affected as they perceive themselves guilty and incapable. Most of them turn to drugs, alcohol and smoking in order rescue themselves from depression and people’s comments. They lose their relationships and lead miserable lives. Many of the unemployed youth go even farther. They become criminals as a result of the frustration and helplessness and do anything in order to live. Many such stories have been reported that youth criminals indulge in killings and robberies. There is also an increasing trend of “suicides” among the youth mainly due to the unemployment and poor living conditions. Especially in the rural Sindh, the trend of suicides has been increasing and taking a serious mode. Youth unemployment also badly affects the morale and spirit of fellow youth of society who become dejected and disappointed by looking at their peers and elders unemployed.

Impact on Society:

Youth are the most active and productive members of the society, if the majority of them are unemployed then it will negatively affect the society and its other members. Of course, when young and capable people are roaming around doing nothing useful, it will create irritation and annoyance in the environment. Unemployed youth involved in criminal activities become a nuisance for the other members of society. In rural Sindh, there is the notorious social issue of “kidnapping for ransom”. Youth are also among the professionals who are involved in such activities to kidnap local businessmen and other citizens from the city and the surroundings. They then cause trouble for the families of the kidnapped by demanding a ransom. So, in this way society loses the great asset of young talent due to the unavailability of job opportunities and fair working conditions.

Impact on Economy

Young people, being major players of the market, if unemployed cause many losses to the economy in the shape of intelligence, capabilities and talent lost which could be employed to boost up the economy of the country. Unemployed youth are also considered as a burden on the economy, as they contribute nothing and consume the produce. On the other hand, families with unemployed youth and no source of income generation, as in the case of rural areas of Sindh, face many economic challenges. They lead miserable lives on account of poverty, inflation, unavailability of health, education and water facilities. Thousands of these families lead desperate lives in the rural Sindh living in small huts made of straw and having no electricity and other amenities of life.

Some causes of Youth Unemployment

There can be many causes of the Youth Unemployment in the world; they may differ from region to region. But some apparent triggers of youth unemployment in Pakistan and especially rural areas can be as following:

Lack of Quality Education

As in the backward areas of country, the education facilities are not available. Only 2.7% of total GDP of the country is spent on Education. Even though there are more than 8000 ghost schools in Sindh province, which are not working but are under the control of local landlords. Government schools are unable to provide quality education due to imperfect syllabus, improper education policies, and inefficient teachers. That’s why the students are unable to build their strong base through education.

Lack of Career Counseling

It is the fact that most of the youth are not properly guided and motivated to choose their proper future career. The students choose the career which does not befit their personality and nature. Thus leading to failure in professional life and they cannot find suitable jobs and if they find one, they cannot deal with the challenges of the job.

Lack of Professional Training

Like the absence of other educational services, there are very few and inefficient institutes for professional training in the country, especially in the rural areas.

Lack of Opportunities

As the population grows rapidly, the resources are insufficient and opportunities are limited to meet the needs and demands of all the people. There are limited corporations and the market capacity is not sufficient enough to adjust. Very few jobs are announced and after a long time the tough competition is created and chance of opportunity decreases.

Suggestions and Conclusion:

Youth Unemployment is a very serious issue and it must be resolved as soon as possible. It requires collective efforts by all the institutions and concerned authorities. We can get rid of this problem by introducing “Career Counseling Centers” in all the areas of the country in order to guide, train and educate youth and create entrepreneurial skills. There should be more and more investment in industrialization by public-private investors in order to increase the employment opportunities, especially for the Youth. Government, NGOs and MNC must come forward to collaboratively take initiative for eradicating Youth Unemployment. Small and Medium Enterprises must be encouraged in the rural areas. Moreover, Microfinance can also help youngsters to setup their businesses on a small level. We must also utilize our local natural resources by engaging our youth in this prosperous sector which also needs creative ideas and proper exploitation and youth who can do better job in this regard.

By Kamran Ahmed Soomro, Pakistan

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