There Will Be No Pandemic Recovery Without Tackling Youth Unemployment

There Will Be No Pandemic Recovery Without Tackling Youth Unemployment
Youths demonstrate in Paris after French unions called for strikes and protests to demand more government aid for those struggling financially because of the pandemic, Feb. 4, 2021 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

Young people across the world are struggling to find work. Even before the pandemic hit, young people were three times more likely to be unemployed than those over the age of 25. And one in five met the criteria for what the international system characterizes as NEET—for “not in education, employment or training”—meaning they weren’t gaining experience in the labor market, receiving an income from work or enhancing their education and skills. 

Now, the pandemic has demonstrated that in a crisis, young workers are also among the first to lose their jobs. More than one in 10 young people—aged 16 to 25—were forced to leave their jobs at the onset of the crisis. It also appears that they will be the last to get them back. So far, governments and the international system have done little to address these job shortages, fueling fears that today’s young people are set to become a “lockdown generation,” trapped in a trajectory of long-term unemployment. 

But this isn’t even the full story. Even when young people are able to find work, it is often poorly paid and insecure. In all parts of the world, they are finding themselves exploited by the “gig economy,” in which companies and employees connect, increasingly through digital platforms, and agree on short-term working relationships. Though the emergence of the gig economy was initially hailed for promoting flexible working patterns, research suggests that most digital labor platforms “fail to ensure many minimum standards of fair work” and “uphold a deeply flawed economy built upon worker … suffering.”

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review