With unemployment among the young topping 81 million globally, the debate about how to get them into work is struggling to get attention.
Weak economic growth in the developed world appears to dominate discussion of the jobs story while in the developing world, despite strong growth, millions remain either out of work or in work paying less than $2 a day.
In an exclusive discussion with CNBC - which CNBC.com will bring to you over the course of this week - a recruitment expert, a policy advisor, a CEO, a financier and a NGO leader discuss how young people can find long-term work and how business and government can stop the creation of a ‘Lost Generation.’
In the first of these exclusive discussions we discuss what opportunities there are out there for young people and how young people seize them.
“During the financial crisis of 2008, you had bankers really overflowing and dominating the workforce,” David Arkless, President of Corporate and Government Affairs at Manpower , said.
“Not only did you have financial services as the dominating sector within, for example, the S&P 500, but you also had it as the dominate sector in terms of work, so, you know MBA college students coming out of school rather than going into jobs that are underpinnings of any economy, like fast speed trains or healthcare, they were going toward financial services because that’s where they thought the money is,” he added.
Peter Loscher, the CEO of Siemens , has 4,000 jobs going in Germany alone despite record unemployment across Europe and says he aims to make science sexy again.
“My message to young people is a very simple one. Industry needs you,” Loscher said.
Pioneering companies are looking for “very passionate people” – a key personality trait, he added.
Engineering and Technical
The problem for many young people is that first break.
The young people CNBC spoke to talked of themselves or friends losing confidence following two or three knock-backs but John Studzinski, Senior Managing Director at the Blackstone Group says determination will pay off.
“You have to knock on the door 19 times and on the 20th time it’ll open up. And I really do believe that,” Studzinski said.
“And if you get a young person to understand that you have to knock 19 times, if the door closes the first three or four times that’s all part of learning,” he said.
“You have to understand that the door closing 19 times is actually the norm, and has nothing to do with them, it’s just part of the road to employment.” For years, young people assumed that a path into education would be school, university then work.
As the world has changed, the ways into work have changed, and understanding that change could be crucial to you getting into highly paid, rewarding work.
“Young people are starting to discover that it might be worth their while to go into vocations, engineering and technical areas,” Arkless said.
“We saw some data last year out of the US, if you could find a job as a first time graduate, your average pay was about $45,000, same age group, if you had a technical skill, an electrician, some kind of engineering, $20,000 higher start pay,” he said. “So it’s very clear there are some cash incentives out there to go into vocation.”
Over the coming days we discuss what more business and governments can do to get young people into work, the role of languages and how the developed and developing world are linked by jobs.