Youth employment crisis – a thorny problem

The global economic downturn has caused unemployment, especially among the youth.

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  • A recent report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) shows that 50.4 percent of unemployed people are those aged between 15 and 24.

    However, experts said the figure is just the tip of the iceberg because the inequality, insecurity, and vulnerability is increasing. The quality of work for youth is decreasing while the lack of employment is following an upward trend.

    According to employment service centres and companies, workers still find it difficult to seek a job despite the fact that businesses are facing labour shortages.

    At present, more than one million people enter the working age in Vietnam and it is a difficult task for them to seek a satisfactory job.

    ILO experts said that most of the new graduates cannot meet employers’ requirements while many of the businesses differentiate students graduating from public universities with those from private ones.

    They said gender discrimination is another reason that blows the chance of well-qualified graduates.

    In addition, the poor orientation of vocational training cannot support students in choosing a right job for them, they said.

    José Manuel Salazar, Executive Director of ILO Employment Sector, proposed three ingredients for successful settlement of the employment crisis for the youth including apprenticeships, entrepreneurship, and employment services.

    The first one, he said, is the dual training system combines practical training in a company with theoretical training in a vocational training institution.

    This model of collaboration can be adapted across very different economic and cultural circumstances to assist young people to overcome the work-inexperience trap. It has been successfully applied in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark, which have the lowest rates of youth unemployment in Europe.

    Salazar said the second factor is integrating entrepreneurship in technical and vocational training. This will enable students to imagine starting their own businesses and make technical training more attractive.

    Another factor leading to success is access to good employment services, especially when employment services work directly with both technical and vocational training institutions and employers.

    Easy access to employment service will decrease the job search period, he said.

    ILO also emphasized the importance of coordination between ministries and agencies and the public-private partnerships.

    This, it said, will help respond to the serious youth employment crisis affecting many countries in the world.

    It proposed that growth and development strategies should be strongly based on human capital development because investment flows and innovation only thrives in places where the best talent resides.

    In addition, skills development not only helps countries and workers overcome the impacts of the crisis, but also prepares them to face the long-term, changing trends that are hitting the labour markets around the world.

    Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep affirmed Vietnam’s continual efforts to enter the labour market through introducing educational and training policies and providing employment services and employment promotion programs.

    However, he said, the problem cannot be settled in the short run.

    Nguyen Ngoc Trinh, Director of the Hanoi Youth Employment Services Centre, said young people are not interested in free-of-charge employment intermediary services offered by her centre.

    She also warned of the operation of fraudulent centres and proposed allowing these kinds of centre to operate according to market-based mechanism.