Marginalized Youth Could Be Left Behind as the Job Market Rebounds

Marginalized Youth Could Be Left Behind as the Job Market Rebounds
Matumelo Manosa works in a garment factory in Maseru, Lesotho, Feb. 24, 2022 (AP photo by Neo Ntsoma).

In the second quarter of 2022, economic forecasts are looking positive, and analysts are especially hopeful about new power dynamics emerging in Western economies and job markets. According to Forbes, for instance, 2022 has encouraged a “buyers market” in which “employees are demanding better work-life balance and companies are taking note.”

There is much evidence to support this claim. With the ball in their court, workers are now demanding more flexible work schedules, as well as better pay and benefits, and companies seem to be responding positively. Many have extended work-from-home policies implemented at the onset of the pandemic, while a number of multinational companies, like Unilever and Shake Shack, and countries like Belgium and Scotland, have started to trial a four-day work week.

Many analysts argue that companies will need to start going above and beyond if they want to retain employees in competitive labor markets. In addition to personal benefits, employees are increasingly expecting their companies to prioritize diversity and inclusion, support social justice causes, and maintain and promote environmentally friendly practices. The recent example of Disney employees staging a walk-out when company bosses refused to publicly speak out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law—which prevents teachers from discussing sex or sexual orientation in classes from kindergarten to third grade—is just the latest example of employees asserting such expectations.

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