An online poll of 40,000 young people carried out by Unicef in over 150 countries reveals that many young people feel their current education is not preparing them with the skills they need to get jobs.
One third (31 percent) of the young people responding via the Unicef engagement platform U-Report say that the skills and training programs offered to them did not match their career aspirations. More than a third of respondents (39 percent) go on to say that the jobs they seek are not available in their communities.
According to the poll, the key skills young people want to acquire in order to help them gain employment in the next decade include leadership (22 percent), followed by analytical thinking and innovation (19 percent), and information and data processing (16 percent).
Separately, a global survey by PwC found that 74 percent of CEOs around the world said they are concerned about finding the right skills to grow their business.
Unicef and PwC joining forces
To address some of these challenges, Unicef and PwC are joining forces over the next three years to help equip young people around the world with the skills they need for future work.
The collaboration will support research on the growing global skills challenge and develop, expand and fund education and skills programs in countries including India and South Africa.
“Young people are telling us they want digital and transferable skills to succeed in the workplace of the future,” Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. “This crucial need can only be met through the contributions of public and private partners around the globe. That is why we are working with partners like PwC to provide opportunities for personal growth and prosperity for young people everywhere.”
Every month, 10 million young people reach working age, most of them coming from low and middle-income countries. According to a global research, it takes young people in those countries about a year and a half on average to break into the labour market, and a staggering four and a half years to find their first decent job.
This situation could potentially further deteriorate if it isn’t addressed, with 20 to 40 percent of the jobs currently held by 16 to 24 year olds assessed to be at risk of automation by the mid-2030s.
“We believe business has a responsibility to help address the upskilling challenge for all of our stakeholders, including the communities in which we live and work and all of their citizens. It also makes business sense: in PwC’s latest Global CEO Survey, three quarters of CEOs said the lack of available skills is a major concern and risk. Many of the people who need upskilling the most have the least access to opportunities,” said Bob Moritz, Chairman of the PwC Network.
He added, “By joining forces with Unicef, we believe we can help reach more people who may otherwise be unwillingly left behind. Together, we aim to upskill millions of young people.”