IYF Spotlights Opportunity Divide among the World’s Young People:
New Paper, commissioned by Microsoft, outlines actions to better prepare youth entering the 21st century workforce
Washington, DC – Today the International Youth Foundation (IYF) released, Opportunity for Action, a paper documenting the growing economic and social challenges facing youth around the world and the urgent need to provide the education, skills and employment opportunities required for them to succeed in today’s rapidly changing global economy. The report, commissioned by Microsoft, was unveiled in Washington DC at the “Jobs & Economy of the Future: Educating the Next Generation to Compete” Town Hall meeting, jointly hosted by Microsoft and the Atlantic magazine.
On a global basis, according to the paper, the unemployment rate for youth is currently 12.7 percent, or more than double the six percent global average for unemployment as a whole. While some youth are prospering, many others lack access to education, skills and opportunities, and are facing growing challenges. As the global youth population of 1.2 billion — the largest in history — grows over time, this gap between those with opportunity, and those without, risks widening even further.
Opportunity for Action documents the nearly 75 million young people, worldwide who are unemployed and the varying causes for rising youth unemployment in different parts of the world. As the report shows, currently only 44 percent of youth worldwide pursue education as far as the equivalent of the high school level in the United States, and even fewer complete secondary education. This is especially concerning given the increase in jobs requiring higher levels of skill and education.
Microsoft and IYF have developed a strong partnership over the past decade, working together in countries around the world to expand opportunities for underserved youth to be successful learners, workers, and entrepreneurs.
In response to the report’s findings, Brad Smith, Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel, said, “While the reasons for the opportunity divide vary country by country, the global trend is unfortunately the same everywhere. As the International Youth Foundation reports, unemployment has been on the rise for young people worldwide. More than ever, the public and private sectors need to work together to provide youth with access to education, skills, and better job opportunities. We must move from ‘opportunity divided’ to ‘opportunity provided’ for all.”
“History has shown us that when young people thrive, society prospers” said William S. Reese, president and CEO of IYF. “The data in this paper show us that far too many young people today are struggling, and the reasons why. We must act now so that the world’s youth have the opportunities they need to succeed in the 21st century workforce. Our collective future depends upon it.”
Read the complete Opportunity for Action paper.