Youth unemployment: One big G20 challenge

Across OECD countries, more than 35 million young people, aged 16-29, are neither employed nor engaged in education

Photo by: TRTWorld
Photo by: TRTWorld

Youth unemloyment rates have risen substantially all across G20 countries

For G20 countries, creating jobs is a main priority. Especially for young people below the age of 30.

As a result of the global financial and economic crisis, the unemployment rate for youth rose substantially in most countries -- notably Italy, Spain and Greece (where it exceeded 50%).

Turkey is better off if compared to those examples: in July the youth unemployment rate declined to 18.3% (it had peaked 20% earlier this year), but there are challenges ahead for those looking for a job around here.

First, lack of education and training. Turkey ranked highest among all OECD countries in the number of young people who are neither employed nor engaged in training or education: there are 5.9 million young people like that in this country.

What is startling is that among them, 79% are not actively looking for a job. 

Second, lack of investment.

For professor Sedat Aybar, an economist at Kadir Has Üniversitesi, “the youth in this country is primarily concerned about its economic future.  They wonder if they will find decent jobs and not fall into the 'poverty trap.’

For him, the problem is the economy: Turkey needs long term investment in specific sectors like tech and research to absorb its qualified workforce :  “The first thing must be the increasing competitiveness of the Turkish productive sectors, competitiveness on a global scale. In order to compete in global economy these productive sectors must create high marginal productivity of labor. Turkey must invest in tech, IT sectors."

“Unemployment amongst educated youth is our most serious problem.  The expectations for the future are being formed among the educated youth much more strongly then the youth not receiving education” so if they lose hope, Turkey’s future will start looking bleak.

Author: Anelise Borges