Trends in youth employment

Credits: Youth Impact

The visible trend of the last two decades is decline of youth participation in the labour force. One of the main and positive reasons is increased enrollment in scholarization in secondary and tertiary education, resulting in a better-skilled workforce in many countries.

The negative aspect is still a significant number of people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). In current year, it is one-fifth of young people globally. This situation concerns mainly women. It does not mean that they do not work. In many cases they contribute to the households and economy through unpaid work. It has to be highlighted that the number of NEETs depends on the region and is influenced by various factors, including cultural ones.

In most subregions unemployment is more prevalent among young women. What is interesting, the situation of women in Arab countries and Sub-Saharan Africa has not changed since 2005. It means that target 8.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals, namely a substantial reduction in the proportion of NEET youth by 2020, will not be reached.

Despite the fact that extreme poverty among young workers decreased by approximately 20 percentage points between 1999 and 2019 globally, there are still regions where it is still very high. COVID-19 and lockdown has contributed to the recession and young people without official employment like for instance domestic workers are particularly at risk of losing their jobs.

The global youth unemployment rate is 13.6% (2020). This rate for European Union is a bit higher as in August 2020 it was 17.6%. Compared to July it increased by 64 000 unemployed youth. The rates of Central Europe are more optimistic. In Czech Republic, 8.8% youth were unemployed in August. Similar situation is in Poland where this rate for August, reached 9.1%. Only Slovakia is above the European average, namely 19.40% of youth are jobless.

Young people are also concerned about new technologies which may replace them on the labour market. By new technologies they mean robots and artificial intelligence. Automatization is happening in the manufacturing sector which threatens employment of middle-skilled workers. The companies may not only reduce employment but also do not create new opportunities.

The recent studies show there is less job opening for middle-skilled jobs. Employers are seeking more candidates for the health and social care sector than for the information technology sector. The stable trend for all types of jobs is that there skills like computer literacy and good knowledge of office software are required.

People who have vocational training are more at risk of losing jobs due to automation of work. Moreover they have few alternatives when it comes to changing the occupation. At the end they can end up as NEETs. Higher education does not ensure employment but people are more likely to  start new studies or training to find a job in a different field.

In the labour market for people with a degree, the problem is that not always there is sufficient demand for the graduate skills. In many cases university curricula do not match specific needs of employers.

According to a survey on global trends conducted by LinkedIn, 92% of the managers consider soft skills as important or even more than hard skills. 80% said that soft skills are important to help the business grow. On the other hand it is visible also that demand for skills related to new technologies is still rising. It can be caused by rapid development of technologies and investments in the research and development sector.


  1. Being young in Europe today – digital world, Eurostat, 2020
  3. Euro area unemployment at 8.1%, Eurostat, 2020
  5. Global Employment Trends for Youth 2020, Technology and the future of jobs, International Labour Organisation
  7. Youth unemployment: a global crisis, Mercy Crops 2020
  8. 15 Employment Trends Shaping The Future Of Job, Featured by Shubhangi Srinivasan 2019


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here