Unemployed 20-year-olds lurking on the world wide web clicking their way into a job isn’t something new. On the contrary, it has become so common that you can almost assume it’s the new norm; spend thousands of dollars on good education, stay up all night writing papers, solving equations, building projects, throw your cap up in the air laughing only to sit back down on a couch with your degree in hand, frowning.
According to the International Labor Organization there are 71 million unemployed young people all around the world. That’s a lot of untapped potential, frowning faces, and unused degrees. There is a blame to be cast, and fingers are unsure on what or whom to point: Education? The Job Market? Youth? The possibilities are endless. Yet the Youth Global Employability Report narrowed our options down to better understand how can a young person find and retain his job.
It is no secret that graduates are not only unemployed, but a portion of them are either overqualified or underemployed (read: employed at a job below their education level.) What causes this however? The inability of educational institutes to keep up with what the job market demands.
The Center for College Affordability and Productivity in the United States had stated that college graduates were supplied at a higher rate than the labor market demanded, with the predictable result that they were forced to find employment in lower-skilled occupations.
On one hand, you have young people all around the world embarking on journeys of high aspirations only to be crushed down onto an unemployment couch, or worse, working below their skill-set level.
The Youth Global Employability Report defined 5 skill-sets that deemed of high-importance to employers for job retainment and opportunities.
- Communication Skills
- Creativity and Innovation
- Willingness to learn (fast)
- Language Skills
- IT and Digital Media
Most of those skills are not something you can learn off of a classroom but rather off of practical experience in a challenging environment. (Ring a bell? Global Volunteer.)
The Job Market
Different people bring different perspectives on different things. Living in a globalized world, depending on one view does not work anymore. Diversity is key, and most importantly, a culturally aware employee has more to offer than one that isn’t. The Youth Global Employability Report has also highlighted the notion of having an International Experience as something employers look for.
“Being in a new culture, often working with a language that is not your mother tongue, will develop the youth into efficient communicators and help them appreciate different points of view. Living abroad will also increase flexibility and independence, both essential in any job.”
So, we have the facts straight. We understand that some blame falls on the gaps created between educational institutions and the job market, but we shouldn’t just stop there. You see, a big part of getting the job and marching towards your future is getting off that couch and building the skill-set the world has asked for. No one said it’s going to be easy, because it’s not. Living through electricity cuts in Lebanon as you volunteer and train to become a language teacher is not easy. Having to use the ‘outdoors’ as a bathroom as you live in a rural area in Sri Lanka while you volunteer and train to be an accountant isn’t easy. But it makes you more resilient to the hardships the job market presents to you, and it definitely opens more doors.
It’s not too late to try to accommodate to the job market, and the best step forward, is one that involves a step out of your comfort zone, and into an adventure.