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YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS What Business Can Do Now YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 1 CONTENTS Introduction 3 The Youth Unemployment Challenge 5 Youth Unemployment Trends 5 Why Youth Fare Worse Than Adults 6 Consequences of a Lost Generation 8 Young People as a Talent Resource 9 Addressing Urgent Talent Shortages 9 Realizing the Potential of Young Workers 12 Creating Business-Driven Solutions to 14 the Youth Employment Challenge Investments to Improve Information Resources 14 for Youth Investments to Improve Youth Access to 18 Work-Relevant Skills Training Investments to Improve Youth Access to Work 23 Experience Investments to Improve Both Skills 26 Development and Work Experience for Youth Investments to Address a Shortage of Career- 30 Oriented Entry-Level Jobs Conclusion 33 YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 2 STATEMENT OF THE CHALLENGE INTRODUCTION “With less experience and fewer skills than many adults, young people often encounter particular difficulty accessing work. The global youth unemployment rate, which has long exceeded that of other age groups, saw its largest annual increase on record in 2009; at its peak at the end of the 2010, 75.8 million young people were unemployed” – United Nations “World Youth Report”, 2012 “With less experience and fewer skills than many adults, young people often encounter particular difficulty We are entering the era of unparalleled talent scarcity, which, if left unaddressed, will put a brake on economic growth around the world, accessing work. The global youth unemployment rate, which has long exceeded that of other age groups, and will fundamentally change the way we approach workforce challenges.” – Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, World Economic Forum sGlo aw i bats l Tale larges nt Ris t a k R nn epua ortl i 2nc 011 r ease on record in 2009; at its peak, 75.8 million young people were unemployed.“ – United Nations “World Youth Report”, 2012 “The world is on the cusp of entering a new reality in which human potential itself will become the major agent of economic growth.” – Jeffrey A. Joerres, CEO and President, ManpowerGroup, Entering the Human Age, 2011 “We are entering the era of unparalleled talent scarcity, which, if left unaddressed, will put a brake on economic growth around the world, and will fundamentally change the way we approach workforce challenges.” Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, World Economic Forum “Global Talent Risk Report”, 2011 “The world is on the cusp of entering a new reality in which human potential itself will become the major agent of economic growth.” – Jeffrey A. Joerres, CEO and President of ManpowerGroup, “Entering the Human Age”, 2011 The global economy is in the midst of a series of demographic and economic shifts, leading to what ManpowerGroup has called the “Human Age.” (See And too many young people are being left behind. In the Human Age, technological transformations have rendered many formerly scarce resources abundant, while the key constraints on economic and business development have become the skills, knowledge, and talent embodied in individual workers. In the Human Age, economic success and failure will increasingly be determined by the strategic acquisition and management, by businesses and individuals, of economically-relevant skills. Putting talent at the center of analysis offers new perspectives on one of the world’s most pervasive economic and social challenges – the increasing numbers of young people, in nearly all countries and regions, who are having difficulty entering the workforce and establishing themselves in sustainable careers. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 3 In this paper, ManpowerGroup looks at the youth employment challenge from the talent- centric perspective of the Human Age. Our starting point is that youth have difficulty in the labor market because of identifiable – and remediable –deficits as potential valuable talent for employers: lack of work-relevant skills, lack of information and connections for acquiring appropriate skills, lack of experience and credentials that could get them started on an upward path, and limited opportunities for entry-level work that is career oriented. A talent-focused perspective also offers a framework and a rationale for business investment and action, to help create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions to the challenge of youth un- and under-employment. Below, ManpowerGroup identifies a series of specific actions, informed by our own 64 years of experience in the world of work, that employers can undertake now to help address the youth unemployment challenge. On their own initiative, and in partnership with schools, vocational institutions, and other engaged stakeholders, employers can play a key role in helping young people reach their full human potential while contributing to their enterprises and their societies. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 4 THE YOUTH EMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT TRENDS High rates of youth unemployment represent both widespread personal misfortune for individuals and a lost opportunity for critical national and global economic development. Unemployment in youth has been shown to have lifelong effects on income and employment stability, because affected young people start out with weaker early-career credentials, and show lower confidence and resilience in dealing with labor market opportunities and setbacks over the course of their working lives. The recent economic crisis has had a disproportionate – and disproportionately long-term – effect on young people. According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends for Youth, 2011 Update (, the global youth unemployment rate rose from 11.8 to 12.7 percent between 2008 and 2009, the largest one-year increase on record. In the ten years from 1998 and 2008, youth unemployment increased by a total of 0.2 percent, or about 100,000 persons per year; but from 2008 to 2009 it increased by 5.3%, or 4.5 million persons, in a single year. By the end of 2010, an estimated 75.8 million young people were unemployed (UN, “World Youth Report,” 2012). At the same time, the labor force participation rate for young people has continued its downward trend: after declining from 53.8 to 50.1 percent between 1998 and 2008, it fell to 48.8 percent by 2011. (ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth, 2011 Update ). YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 5 The youth unemployment challenge is particularly intense in the developed world. In Spain, a majority of youth (51.4%) were unemployed as of the third quarter of 2011, and the figure was nearly as high in Greece (46.6%). The youth unemployment rate in Portugal was 30.7%, and in the UK 22%. (“The Jobless Young: Left Behind,” The Economist, September 10, 2011). In the developing world, high youth unemployment represents lost potential for national economic transformation, and high numbers of economically frustrated youth may contribute to social instability. Developing regions with markedly high youth unemployment rates include North Africa (26.6%), the Middle East (24.0%), and Southeast Europe/Former CIS states (22.6%). (ILO 2011) WHY YOUTH FARE WORSE THAN ADULTS For more than a decade, evidence has been accumulating that youth unemployment is following a different trajectory than adult unemployment, is shaped by different factors, and is trending toward poorer outcomes. The problem persists in good economic times and further worsens in bad economic times. Youth participation rates are falling relative to adult participation rates, and youth unemployment rates are consistently 2-4 times adult unemployment rates In contrast to the 12.7% global youth unemployment rate for 2011, the ILO’s 2012 Global Employment Trends report states that the global adult unemployment rate was only 4.8 percent last year. While the adult rate has already begun to decline from its 2008-9 peak, youth unemployment has fallen only marginally, by 0.1 percent. The ILO estimates that youth unemployment represents nearly 40 percent of total global unemployment. Many factors are responsible for the difficulties that youth experience in initial workforce entry. These include:  A lack of information, networks and connections among youth, especially youth from families lacking significant social capital. Many young people lack knowledge of what the world of work is actually like, and have not given careful thought to their own potential career choices. They have not used their time in school to prepare appropriately for realistic career paths. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 6 They lack informal networks and connections that are traditionally the major source of information about job opportunities. And they do not know how to navigate the labor market to identify and pursue available jobs or to find and use the most relevant training resources.  A lack of skills relevant to the workplace. Even those young people who have pursued a course of study with a specific career in mind often find themselves with general or theoretical knowledge that does little to prepare them for the actual tasks they will encounter on the job. This is partly the fault of school curricula and poor connections st between employers and the educational system. Young people also lack specific “21 century workplace skills” such as cooperation, communication, critical thinking, creativity, and a focus on the needs of the enterprise.  A lack of experience and credentials that address employers’ risk in making hiring commitments. Many employers are skeptical about young people’s ability to apply the skills they learn in schools to the practical challenges of the workplace. They also question the social skills and work ethic of youth. They see these deficits as a significant barrier to the productivity of inexperienced young people, and at the same time they are reluctant to invest resources in training young people when more experienced adult workers may be unemployed and available for hire.  A lack of available jobs suited to entry-level skills. In some labor markets, especially in the developing world, there is simply a demographic mismatch between the number of young people seeking work and the level of local economic activity. Most available work may be in informal or underdeveloped industry sectors. There may be a severe shortage of locally-available jobs that are entry-level but that still lead to meaningful careers. As a consequence of these factors, many young people face significant obstacles to obtaining decent work and thriving in their first jobs. In addition, in difficult economic times, young people are often the first to be laid off, making it still harder for them to consistently build their skills and experience. Consequently many young people end up facing extended periods of unemployment, or significant under-employment in jobs that fail to offer career opportunities. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 7 CONSEQUENCES OF A LOST GENERATION The most important consequences of youth unemployment extend beyond the impact of temporary labor market fluctuations. The experience leaves a permanent imprint on both individual life outcomes and on national development trajectories. A series of studies starting with Andrew Sum (2000) in the U.S. and Kevin O’Higgins (2003) for the World Bank suggest that young people who have difficulty in their early integration into the world of work suffer lifelong “scarring” effects that diminish their resiliency and ability to thrive in a dynamic and demanding labor market. A 2007 study by the Prince’s Trust (, The Cost of Exclusion, cites evidence of long-term wage and employment impacts of youth unemployment: every 3 months of unemployment at age 22 is associated with an additional 1.3 months of unemployment between age 28 and 33. Persons who experience 26 months of unemployment before age 22 typically earn 1400-1650 less than their peers at age 26, and 1050-1150 less at age 30. A similar study recently 1 cited in the Economist suggested that men who experience a year of unemployment before age 23 will earn 23% less than their peers 10 years later, and 16% less 20 years later. In addition, persons who experience extended unemployment in youth are at increased risk for other social pathologies: direct poverty effects on unemployed young people’s families include “considerable cognitive, health, nutrition and psychological deficits” for children raised in poverty (Sum, 2002). Chronic unemployment is associated with increased incidence of criminal behavior (ILO, 2000; Kotloff, 2004). As these young people grow older and raise families, their own failure to accumulate economic and social capital perpetuates the same cycle for their children. High rates of youth unemployment also represent a wasted resource for developing economies. Poor youth labor market participation limits the inputs available for urgently needed growth and makes it harder for developing countries to realize the benefits of labor-intensive growth strategies. Developing countries pass through a unique demographic “window” where the youth population is maximized before birth rates begin to fall toward a more “developed economy” pattern – their success or failure in realizing the economic potential of young people during this “low dependency ratio” period can make the difference between sustained and faltering long-term development. (Dhillon and Yousef, Inclusion: Meeting the 100 Million Youth Challenge, 2007) 1 YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 8 In the developed world, underemployment of youth contributes to the fiscal challenges of countries facing a narrowing worker base for their old-age pension systems (Heet, 2003). The Prince’s Trust 2010 update to The Cost of Exclusion estimates that youth unemployment costs the UK economy more than £155 million (247 million) per week in benefits payments and lost productivity, not including the costs of youth-associated crime another £23 million (37 million) per week. The study calculates that the lifetime cost of educational underachievement for today’s 17-24 year olds will be £22 billion (35 billion). YOUNG PEOPLE AS A TALENT RESOURCE The current economic situation creates a sense of urgency in devising ways to boost the creation of jobs, and to improve young people’s access to those jobs. But the solutions we develop can and should be sustainable on their own terms. In this way they will add to the permanent accumulation of tools and strategies that can help address both cyclical downturns and long-term structural challenges, and that can improve school-to-work transitions and the participation of young people in decent work. In laying out the case for business initiatives to improve youth employment outcomes, it is important to articulate a value proposition for employers that can be the foundation of a sustained policy and sustained investment. Addressing Urgent Talent Shortages One distinct aspect of the current global labor market is that relatively high unemployment coexists with widespread recruitment challenges faced by employers. In other words, while there is currently excess labor supply in the aggregate, the distinct labor markets for specific skill sets are highly segmented, and many employers are having difficulty finding individuals with the right skillsets for the business tasks at hand. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 9 For example, according to BusinessEurope (Executive ManpowerGroup’s Committee, 2/16/2012, “Creating Opportunities for Youth”), Talent Shortage Survey there were 24 million unemployed persons in the EU in the first quarter of 2011. But at the same time, employers In 2011, Manpower expanded its sixth annual reported 2.2 million unfilled vacancies, including more than a Talent Shortage Survey not only to gauge where million in Germany and 450,000 in the UK. employers are having difficulty filling available positions, but also examine why organizations are ManpowerGroup undertakes periodic surveys of facing a lack of talent and what they are doing to mitigate these challenges. ManpowerGroup businesses across the globe, to identify recruitment trends surveyed nearly 40,000 employers across 39 and challenges faced by employers. The results countries and territories during the first quarter of consistently indicate that, even at a time of generally high 2011. unemployment, a significant number of employers are having difficulty finding employees with the skills that they The results reveal increased difficulty in finding the need. Key skills shortages are distributed among a right talent in the wake of global economic recovery diverse and sometimes surprising range of occupational and limited effort to systematically fill the gaps. groups. Globally, in 2011, the five hardest-to-fill positions There were notable regional variances. were Technicians, Sales Representatives, Skilled Trades  ManpowerGroup research reveals that across Workers, Engineers, and Laborers. the globe, one in three employers (34%) was having difficulty finding appropriately qualified Global demographic trends suggest that skills shortages staff – the highest level since 2007. In the will continue to worsen in the coming decade, becoming U.S., the proportion was 51%. In Japan, the acute for many specific industries and skillsets. The World proportion was 80%, the highest in the world. 2 Economic Forum’s 2011 Global Talent Risk Report  Employers in India, the United States, China identified aging workforces as an acute skills issue in both and Germany report the most dramatic surges developed and developing countries. As older, skilled in reported talent shortage compared to the previous year. In India, the percentage of workers retire, there are not enough younger, replacement employers indicating difficulty filling positions workers in the pipeline to sustain the skills base needed jumped by 51 percentage points from 2010 to for emerging business opportunities. 2011. These talent shortages represent a real and emerging constraint on the ability of businesses to seize available economic opportunities. They represent a potential long- term threat to the viability of many enterprises. And yet, the response by employers to this challenge is lagging: according to ManpowerGroup’s 2011 survey, while 2 YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 10 three-quarters of employers globally are concerned that current candidates’ lack of experience, skills or knowledge make it difficult to fill positions, only one employer in five is using training  Nearly one in four employers say that and development to fill the gap. Only 6% of employers are environmental/market factors play a major role working with educational institutions on work-relevant curricula in the talent shortage—employers simply that can fill knowledge gaps. aren’t finding anyone available in their markets. Another 22% of employers say their More aggressive recruitment, including increasing the applicants lack the technical competencies or geographic and demographic diversity of recruitment sources, is “hard” skills needed for the job, while part of the solution, but competitive recruitment of diminishing candidates’ lack of business knowledge or talent resources will only bid up prices for a limited pool of skilled formal qualifications is the main reason workers. The fundamental problem is systemic, due to the identified by 15% of employers. rapidly evolving skills demands of the global economy and In the first quarter of 2011, the ten hardest-to-fill demographic trends in an aging global workforce. positions globally were: Businesses can no longer simply rely on the labor market, or a 1. Technicians bidding competition, to ensure access to required talent. 2. Sales Representatives Employers must come to understand that pro-active talent 3. Skilled Trades Workers development tailored to their own requirements is in their own 4. Engineers interest, and is indispensable to sustaining their long-term 5. Laborers growth. 6. Managers/Executives 7. Accounting and Finance Staff 8. IT Staff The bottom line for youth employment is that businesses’ pro- 9. Production Operators active talent management strategies must include recruitment of 10. Secretaries, Personal & Administrative potentially trainable workers, including young people, coupled Assistants with an employer investment in preparing these individuals in the specific skills that will support emerging business requirements. See: ManpowerGroup Research Center ( In many cases the cost of this investment can be better ch.cfm), 2011 Talent Shortage Survey, May 2011 leveraged if businesses are able to work with candidates whose skills represent an approximate match for their requirements. ManpowerGroup created the concept of a “teachable fit” as an analytical tool for evaluating job families and identifying and ranking candidates who have a base of skills related to, if not precisely matching, an employer’s requirements. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 11 ManpowerGroup’s Realizing the Potential of Teachable Fit Concept Young Workers Unemployment is persistently high yet organizations For businesses that take a strategic approach toward worldwide report difficulty filling key positions. So building and accessing young talent, the potential rewards the immediate problem for employers is not the are substantial: younger workers represent an asset to number of potential candidates, but a talent firms in their capacities as consumers, influencers, mismatch: there are not enough sufficiently skilled people available in the right places at the right times. innovators, and tech-savvy employees. As employers seek ever more specific skill sets and combinations of skills, the “right” person for a  Consumers: In their book Gen BuY: How Tweens, particular job is becoming much harder to find. Teens and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail, Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., and Jayne O’Donnell Employers must recalibrate their mindsets to document the tremendous buying potential of the consider candidates who may not meet all of the job Millennial generation (persons born between 1978 and specifications, but whose capability gaps can be 2000) as well as their distinct buying habits. By 2017 filled in a timely and cost-effective way. Training is this generation will possess more buying power than vital. A commitment to reskilling and up-skilling current and potential employees will enable any other generational group. And when they shop, organizations to expand the available pools of talent, they tend to bring their social network along with them: ensure that their workforces continue to be more than any other cohort, Millennials shop in appropriately skilled, and keep employees engaged groups, rely on the opinions of friends, and use social in their work. media to widely share their opinions about products and services. Millennials write half of all online ManpowerGroup believes that the key to success product reviews. As employees, Millennials provide with this new mindset is the ability to identify businesses with direct insight into the tastes and candidates with a “teachable fit” for available preferences of their peers and help promote their positions. employers’ products among their social networks.  Influencers: As companies seek to more pro-actively manage their reputation in online media, they can find value in making themselves an attractive and challenging place for Millennials to work. Millennials’ social and communication networks affect the reputation of companies as well as the popularity of products. The past year has seen dramatic examples of the way young people’s issues and opinions can “go viral” via social networking channels. Online connections among young YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 12 ManpowerGroup’s “teachable fit” analysis people have been credited as a major driving force behind focuses on four questions: the Arab Spring. The ongoing potential of mobilizing youth opinion was recently illustrated by the “Kony 2012”  What capabilities are essential to phenomenon, where more than 74 million social network performing the job?  Which of these are teachable in an users learned about the abuse of child-soldiers in efficient way? Uganda, and organized global awareness and protest  Is there adequate time and money to activities, even before the issue had broken into develop these capabilities in the candidate? mainstream media.  And do candidates have the capacity  Innovators: In the rapidly evolving global marketplace, the (both motivation and capability) to develop them? ability to innovate continuously is a key driver of business success. Fast Company ( recently Smart organizations are already adopting this reported on the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Their approach, but typically in a limited and non- top three innovators were Apple, Facebook, and Google. systematic way. As economies recover and These companies also reported excellent financial more Baby Boomers retire, the challenges of performance. All three are notable for their unusually youthful building a sustainable talent pipeline are only workforces: the average age of Apple employees is 33; at going to increase. Facebook the average age is 26, and at Google it is 31. See: ManpowerGroup Research Center ( Technology-Savvy Employees: A Study by the University earch.cfm), Teachable Fit: A New Approach to of Phoenix (Future Work Skills) suggests that new media Easing the Talent Mismatch, May 2010 literacy and virtual collaboration are two of the essential skills that will be needed in the future workforce. Millennials, the first generation raised with complete immersion in new technology, have uniquely strong skills in these new communication channels. This technology permeates their social networking and their fluency with online video technology, blogs, podcasts, and collaborative software makes it easy for them to integrate these productivity-enhancers into their work. The Potential of Youth: “Young People bring energy, talent and creativity to economies that no-one can afford to squander. Around the world, young women and men are making important contributions as productive workers, entrepreneurs, consumers – as members of civil society and agents of change. What our young people do today will create the foundations for what our economies will do tomorrow.” Youth Employment: A Global Goal, a National Challenge, ILO 2011 YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 13 CREATING BUSINESS-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS TO THE Y OUTH EMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE Each generation has a positive responsibility to take affirmative steps to prepare the next generation for successful economic participation. Employers’ response to the youth employment challenge should be shaped by their own responsible self-interest in ensuring their firms’ long-term growth and innovation, and in securing their access to talent for emerging and future economic needs. Businesses and economic entities looking toward long-term success must give appropriate attention to creating and securing future talent resources, and they have their own responsibilities in this area alongside and in partnership with government, educators, civil society, and young people themselves. The recommendations outlined below can be implemented, now, by businesses on their own initiative to help realize the potential represented by young people. Adopting these recommendations will help improve young people’s ability to find work and establish decent careers, and will help secure employers’ own access to the talent needed for both the immediate and long-term success of their enterprises. INVESTMENTS TO IMPROVE INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR YOUTH Many young people stumble in their initial career steps due to poor information about the world of work, leading to poor choices about education and careers. According to a series of OECD ( studies (summarized in OECD/ILO 2011, Giving Youth a Better Start), “high quality career guidance can help youth make better-informed decisions about their future,” including the selection of academic/vocational programs, a decision to complete high school, and an optimal combination of education and work. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 14 However, the 2011 study notes that most Junior Achievement and career guidance programs suffer from poor ManpowerGroup funding, under-qualified instructors, and lack of access to timely and relevant labor market Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization information. It also recommends that such dedicated to educating students about workforce guidance begin earlier, in the lower-secondary readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through level (ages 13-15). experiential, hands-on programs. Employers can partner with schools to improve Junior Achievement programs are delivered by volunteers who include business leaders in their local communities. the quality and delivery of career services for In the US, Junior Achievement programs reach more than young people at a time when they are making 4 million students per year in more than 176,000 important decisions about their future. classrooms, thanks to 178,000 volunteers. SOLUTION 1 ManpowerGroup is a longstanding partner with Junior Achievement in promoting entrepreneurship, work Participate in Career readiness, and financial literacy skills among young people. Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup’s President of the Guidance Programs Americas, is chairman of the Junior Achievement USA board of directors. for Youth Still in School ManpowerGroup is a sponsor of Junior Achievement’s new “Success Skills” work-readiness curriculum. During One of the simplest and most direct things that the 2010-2011 school year, 227 ManpowerGroup classroom volunteers presented Junior Achievement employers can do is to partner with schools and programs to 7000 students in the US. Over the past three vocational institutions to increase young years, the “Success Skills” curriculum has been given to people’s exposure to the world of work. They more than 45,000 students in 20 countries. can volunteer as classroom visitors and deliver courses such as those developed by Junior For more information, see: Achievement ( They can provide speakers and participants for related activities such as career days and job shadowing. For many youth, business leaders can serve as role models and as an inspiration to set more ambitious goals for themselves. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 15 Without waiting for the implementation of more ambitious curriculum reform agendas, employers can use their influence to encourage schools to adopt courses that help young people navigate the job-search process and build key soft-skills relevant to the workplace. They can advise on the importance of these programs in contributing to the success of entry- level workers, consult on the selection of off-the-shelf curricula, and assist in the design of new curriculum content. SOLUTION 2 Support Information Projects to Provide Career and Labor Market Information for Young Job Seekers Internet, mobile devices, and social networking technology provides young people with more transparent access to labor market information while it maximizes the recruitment reach of employers. According to the 2011 Source of Hire Report by CareerXroads (, internet job boards are the source of about 25% of new hires among surveyed businesses (principally US-based large and multinational corporations). Most job board hires result from responses to posted openings rather than resume 3 searches. According to CareerXroads’ 2012 Channels of Influence report , a leading goal of hiring managers surveyed is to migrate internet-based recruitment from job boards to social networking or more structured pools of potential applicants. Employers have an opportunity to reach beyond the job-board model while still working proactively with emerging job information services and platforms popular with youth, such as mobile phones/texting and smartphone-based applications, in order to connect with young people more efficiently. Employers can also cooperate with special programs and initiatives that are designed to give youth a deeper understanding of overall career trends and opportunities. By using these channels and transparently specifying the qualifications required for their positions, employers can help youth gain an understanding of the jobs available in the local economy, the avenues for pursuing those jobs, and the skills and experience necessary for obtaining them. 3 YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 16 INJAZ al-Arab’s Arab Youth Portal INJAZ al-Arab ( is the Arab-world affiliate of Junior Achievement. Its goal is to help inspire a culture of entrepreneurialism and business innovation among Arab youth. ManpowerGroup is currently collaborating with INJAZ to help build an Arab Youth Portal (AYP), a future online platform for the delivery of e-learning and job matching to promote youth employability and entrepreneurship. They AYP will also serve as a powerful social network to connect youth with each other, with mentors, and with potential sources of capital, in order to combat youth exclusion in the Arab World. INJAZ operates in 14 countries in the Arab World, reaching 200,000 Arab youth annually. Thousands of private sector volunteers, including hundreds of CEO’s from leading Arab companies, have worked with university and high-school students to help them develop 21st century skill sets. SOLUTION 3 Promote a More Positive Image for Vocational Education A major and specialized new messaging initiative, with the credibility of employers behind it, is needed in the area of vocational education. ManpowerGroup’s talent shortage surveys consistently include technicians and skilled trades positions among the most acute areas of skills shortage around the globe. Yet in countries as diverse as India, Mexico, and the U.S., vocational education programs serve only a small minority of secondary students and are often perceived as an inferior and low-status alternative to an academic education. Young people, especially those disenchanted with an academic education and in danger of dropping out of school, need to understand the high demand that exists, and the competitive salaries available, for skilled and well-prepared vocational and technical personnel. Young people can be inspired by a vision of vocational career paths that include entrepreneurship and small business formation based on technical and trades expertise, as well as the possibilities for academic re-entry in technical, engineering, and other STEM programs at a later career stage. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 17 Employers have an important role to play in improving the profile of vocational education for young people. They can cultivate as speakers and school visitors those employees whose careers illustrate the positive possibilities of vocational and technical work. They should adopt HR policies that ensure that vocational and trades positions do not represent dead-end jobs within their own firms. These policies may include the creation of progressive leadership opportunities for vocational and technical workers, as for other workers, through mentoring and advice, promotion of continuing education and additional certifications, and openness to consulting and contracting by appropriately skilled former employees establishing their own businesses. According to the OECD (Giving Youth a Better Start, 2011), there are very large differences between countries in the percentage of secondary students who are on a vocational track. In countries like Australia and Germany vocational students make up the majority of secondary students; not coincidentally, these countries have extensive curriculum offerings well aligned with the varying needs of the business community, and are very successful in moving young people from school to work. By encouraging more students to enter vocational education in countries where it is not a widespread choice, employers can expand career opportunities for a more diverse range of young people, help address their own skills shortages, and stimulate greater attention and improvement to the vocational education system. INVESTMENTS TO IMPROVE YOUTH ACCESS TO WORK-RELEVANT SKILLS TRAINING Traditionally, the provision of skills has been the responsibility of educational and vocational training institutions and is too often detached from practical applications in the workplace. While employers have a role to play as curriculum advisers and advocates for better work preparation in schools, one of the most immediate ways to align skills training initiatives with real work opportunities is through the creation of demand-driven “training-to-employment” programs. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 18 SOLUTION 4 Partner with Demand-Driven Training-to- Employment Programs Training-to-employment programs focus training narrowly and intensively on the requirements of specific, available jobs, and include a post-training placement component based on prior hiring commitments from employers. These programs can help employers rapidly address skills shortages and they can efficiently expand access to work opportunities for individuals who may not have been able to obtain these jobs on their own. Training-to-employment programs can be organized and managed by workforce intermediaries like ManpowerGroup, by governments or NGOs, or by employers themselves. The model is not limited to “disadvantaged” or nontraditional workers, but has been effective in reskilling experienced workers who may need help in moving to related fields in response to changes in an industry. ManpowerGroup has extensive experience in creating and partnering with successful training-to-employment programs. We have found that several key factors determine the success of training-to-employment programs:  They must be demand-driven, i.e. oriented to filling specific needs and actual vacancies for local employers, and must prepare individuals for those specific, available jobs.  They must be based on a firm employer commitment to articulate its skills requirements to trainers and to work with program graduates.  Post-employment counseling and mentoring are important to help new workforce entrants retain jobs acquired through training-to-employment programs.  Programs benefit from repeated engagement with experienced employer partners who can participate in program design and the specification of skills requirements, and who have acquired confidence in this recruitment channel. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 19 ManpowerGroup’s TechReach Program Over the past decade, ManpowerGroup has undertaken an initiative across North America to create and successfully implement best-practice examples of demand-driven training-to-employment initiatives. Our program, called TechReach, has been replicated in more than 50 North American metropolitan areas. A typical TechReach project identifies an industry sector with a real skills shortage, a group of available, potential job candidates, and an effective training and support program that will help these candidates make the transition to rewarding careers with a future. ManpowerGroup acts as the project-manager, working with employers to identify and analyze job opportunities, with recruitment sources to identify and assess candidates, and with additional partners, as needed, to create and deliver appropriate training and provide counseling support for participants. Graduates are placed into entry-level positions with local employers and provided with post-placement support, coaching and counseling to help them succeed, and to ensure retention on the job. TechReach combines all the necessary elements to assist those individuals most in need of finding rewarding employment, including coaching, counseling, and mentoring to help new workers understand and adjust to the requirements of the workplace. TechReach began as a focused program to help employers address the IT skill shortages of the 1990’s. Over time ManpowerGroup expanded the program to other sectors where employers were having difficulty meeting specific recruitment goals. The program has impacted more than 25,000 people and placed more than 16,000 of them in sustainable jobs. An early study of TechReach by the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College discusses the innovative design of the program, and some of the hands-on aspects of building partnerships and improving candidates’ employability. The study may be downloaded at: The demand-driven training-to-employment model is also relevant globally and has succeeded in many developing countries. In the Middle East and North Africa, regions whose youth unemployment rates are among the highest in the world, ManpowerGroup is working closely with the Education for Employment Foundation ( ), a regional NGO with a proven and effective training-to-employment model for youth. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE AND SOLUTIONS 20

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