[Excerpt] Young women and men are the world’s greatest asset for the present and future, but they also represent a group with serious vulnerabilities. In recent years increasing global unemployment has hit young people the hardest and today’s youth are faced with high levels of economic and social uncertainty. All too often, their full potential is not realized because they do not have access to productive and protected jobs.
Compared to adults, the youth of today are more than three times as likely to be unemployed. Yet open unemployment is but the tip of the iceberg. In both industrialized and developing economies, young people are more likely to find themselves working longer hours under informal employment, intermittent (temporary, part-time, casual) work and insecure arrangements, which tend to be characterized by low productivity, low wages and limited labour protection. There can be no doubt that there is a link between youth unemployment and vulnerability; an inability to find a job creates a sense of exclusion and uselessness among youths and can heighten the attraction of engaging in illegal activities. In addition, an individual’s previous unemployment experience has been proven to have implications for his future employment chances.
This report continues the ILO Global Employment Trends series to provide a valuable analysis of the current labour market trends of young people. It incorporates the most recent information available in order to shed light on the possible factors contributing to the increasing difficulties youth face today when trying to enter the labour force. The report identifies indicators which help to quantify the situation of young workers with an eye towards identifying the specific challenges necessary to meet the UN Millennium Declaration initiative to "develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work". The information provided here also offers a concise picture of where decent work opportunities are most needed around the world.