Youth are being left behind at an alarming rate. While the number of youth ages 15-24 has grown 30% over the last 20 years, their participation in the labour force has decreased by approximately 12% (ILO, 2020). Of those that are employed, many are in the informal economy holding jobs that are commonly characterised by low pay, hazardous working conditions, and little job security. Of the youth with formal employment, many are underemployed, or their skills do not align with employers’ needs. In addition to losing youth from our labour force, youth unemployment and underemployment may also have broader societal implications, including helping to deepen polarization, erode institutional trust, and generate social unrest. Society has a rare chance now to reset and re-connect youth with high-quality skilling opportunities for the good jobs that businesses will have in five, ten, and 20 years in the future.
This report identifies three global youth skilling “gaps” which impede youth from gaining the skills they need.
Though the youth upskilling challenge is a global issue, it must be addressed at the national and local levels, because each country, industry, and locality is unique. This report provides government and corporate leaders with four actionable steps to address the skilling gaps:
In March 2020, PwC launched a three-year strategic, global collaboration with UNICEF in support of Generation Unlimited (GenU), which aims to help upskill millions of young people around the world. The collaboration focuses on convening public, private and civil society stakeholders to develop programmes and innovations that support young people in their path to productive futures and engaged citizenship, and to conduct research on the global skills challenge. In addition, PwC and UNICEF, in support of GenU, are collaborating in India and South Africa to develop, expand and fund education and skills programmes for young people.