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Dominic Barton is one of the judges on our HJI-Reed competition to solve youth unemployment, giving away £10,000 to the winner.Here he talks about why youth joblessness is a problem that must be addressed and what business leaders can do about it.
Demand for high-skill labour is now growing faster than supply, while demand for low-skill labour remains weak.
We estimate that by 2020 the global economy could face serious imbalances: nearly 40 million fewer workers with tertiary education than employers will need; a 45 million shortfall of workers with secondary education in developing economies; and a surplus of as many as 95 million low-skill workers.
Business today is struggling to define the role it should play in addressing the challenge – where are the critical gaps in formal education and what can business do to address them?
Education providers are similarly struggling to bridge these gaps.
Further, labour’s overall share of available wealth, or the share of national income that goes to worker compensation, has fallen; and income inequality is growing as lower-skill workers — including 75 million young people — experience unemployment, underemployment, and stagnating wages This dangerous mismatch between the needs of employers and of job-seeking youngsters is not only resulting in high youth unemployment but arresting economic development.
Later this month Mc Kinsey will release a 9-country survey that examines the problem in detail and proposes a number of steps-some practical, some radical- that educators, employers, government, and young people can take.
How can businesses focus on delivering returns to investors while also addressing the societal problem of youth unemployment?
Too often these objectives are presented as a question of either, or; which is a false choice.
One approach is to improve the “education to employment” ecosystem.
I think the most interesting competition entries will propose solutions that get below the surface and show how the various stakeholders can work together more closely: educators, employers and young people.