The Rat Race

The situation is devastating as an increasing number of youth are becoming victims of joblessness.

By Saira Baig | June 2020

A traditional lifecycle for some people may typically include: studying, getting a job, getting married, and retiring. However, this concept is growing archaic as more and more young adults are finding it tougher to find employment after graduation. This obviously derails their future plans such as paying off their student loan debt, buying a home, starting a family and being able to save and invest.

According to the International Labour Office, the global youth unemployment rate stands at 13 percent – three times higher than the figure for adults, which is 4.3 percent. In their report titled ‘World Social and Employment Outlook – Trends 2018’, they say ‘young people under the age of 25 are less likely to find work than adults’.

The United Nations in 2015 said the global population of youth – individuals aged between 15 and 24 years – had grown to about 1.2 billion globally. This accounts for one out of every six people worldwide. Meanwhile, the Population Reference Bureau Projects says the youth population is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2050.

Youth unemployment has been a longstanding issue that affects various countries including Greece, Spain, Italy, Pakistan, Jamaica, South Africa, Turkey, Malaysia and Australia.

In Pakistan, for instance, although the youth unemployment rate varies from 9.90 percent — according to the Survey of Labour Statistics — to unofficial figures which are as high as 40 percent. The discrepant statistics do little other than adding weight to the challenge. The rising number of college graduates would further exacerbate the current situation by intensifying the labour supply in an already job-strapped economy. Hence, unless Pakistan realizes the utmost importance of acknowledging this crisis, youth unemployment can never be effectively addressed.

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The writer is a free-lancer focusing on politics in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Her subjects cover feminism, fashion, cinema and sport. She can be reached at

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