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- Youth unemployment is certainly a worrying challenge for most countries, especially at a time of economic instability and social unrest. However, to say that this is the largest issue is to overlook a range of equally pressing matters, as we will discuss now.
- It must be admitted that joblessness can undermine a young person’s economic prospects and consequent social mobility. Nevertheless, this issue can be ameliorated by coordinated action between the state and the private sector, as we have seen, for instance, in Canada recently. When this is realized, we can see that other concerns are at least as serious. Foremost among these is perhaps the issue of age demographics, whereby young people bear the burden for an increasingly elderly population with high longevity. This means that young people will pay higher taxes and work longer hours, possibly forcing them to migrate to countries where this pressure is lower. The effect of this is the ‘brain drain’ situation which can be seen in southern Europe, where young, ambitious people prefer to leave their countries altogether, exacerbating the problem for those remaining.
- Furthermore, we must remember that a substantial proportion of young people globally face existential threats such as famine, drought or outbreaks of disease. These problems are often caused by (or are compounded by) civil war, political instability or the corruption of people in power locally. Such risks are a danger to their safety in addition to their livelihood, and so would appear to be far more serious than unemployment.
- To conclude, it seems logical to accept that joblessness is a major challenge for young people. However, persistent trends in demographics among developed countries and the presence of physical dangers in developing countries should be regarded as at least as severe.