Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia, the countries that form the Pacific Alliance – an organisation launched in 2011 with the aim of strengthening trade agreements between these nations- have just reached an agreement with 38 companies operating in the region to promote youth employment.
The Pacific Alliance Youth Employability Agreement emerged in the context of the second Pacific Alliance Youth Meeting held in Chile last May. The event, which brought together hundreds of young people as well as corporate and institutional representatives, allowed the public and private sectors to put together a proposal to enhance the employability of young people in the region, share experiences, and increase the visibility of entrepreneurs.
During the meeting, companies such as Latam Air Lines, BBVA, Google, Grupo Éxito, Grupo Falabella, Manpower Group, Grupo Cencosud, Sura, Mercer, Nielsen and Sodexo, among others, signed an agreement to combine forces to tackle youth unemployment in the region. In this sense, they undertook to facilitate access to the labour market for 17,000 young people in Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia through direct jobs, internships, and dual training.
Following in the footsteps of Nestlé
Nestle Needs YOUth, the European Youth Employment Initiative that the multinational launched in 2013 and that has helped thousands of young Europeans to find their first jobs or to train in one of the group’s companies, served as the framework for the Pacific Alliance Youth Employability Agreement. Nestlé plans to generate 900,000 jobs around the world, 410,000 of which will be created in Latin America, a region with a youth unemployment rate of 18.3%, i.e. almost 10 million people aged 15 to 24 are looking for jobs and are unable to find any.
Laurent Freixe, Nestlé CEO for the Americas Region, drew attention to the crucial role of businesses in the task of reducing youth unemployment. “Young people are the future of our communities, countries and of society. By integrating them into our present we guarantee our future”, said Freixe during the meeting in Chile.
The International Labour Organisation, also present at the meeting, once again requested greater investment in young people as one of the solutions to the problem. “The situation, without trying to be alarmist, could be defined as dramatic. Such a high rate of youth unemployment has not been recorded for more than a decade. Today, 40% of unemployed people are young people”, said José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ILO Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Salazar explained that, in addition to tripling the unemployment statistics of adults, young people face a high rate of informal employment, estimated at 56% on average in the region. This means that more than half of the jobs available to young people can be considered informal employment.