The work performed during the two days of the Bilbao Youth Employment Forum concluded with the thoughts of the representatives of international organisations. Mark Keese, Head of the Employment Analysis and Policy Division in the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the OECD; Allan Päll, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum; Joaquín Nieto, Director of the OIT Office in Spain and Jannie Pitt, Minister-Counsellor Employment of the Australian Government, a country presiding the G-20 this year, shared their views on the issues brought up during the event.
This OECD manager advised young people to acquire basic skills when they were not working and when they were. “18% of Spanish people are unskilled, compared with 5% in Japan, Korea or Finland”. Skills must also match the needs of employers, a situation that also presents distortions in Spain where 70% of the people are over-qualified. Keese stressed that the Administrations should have employment services “that work well, provide advice and additional training”. This is a task in which “private services, such as certain NGOs dedicated to integrating people with disabilities, drug issues…” should also cooperate. He also mentioned the need to achieve a better transition between education and business, a process that is being hindered by “legislation that is overly protective of workers with permanent contracts and that is forcing young people into temporary employment”.
Regarding the Youth Employment Decade 2019-2028, the goal pursued by the Novia Salcedo Foundation, Mark Keese recommended focusing on “specific goals to put pressure on governments and organisations”. Among the said goals, he mentioned reducing school failures and achieving greater equality in education, reducing the number of young people who neither study nor work and creating more and better jobs. “Young people deserve more help than what we are giving them” he acknowledged.
The Secretary General of the European Youth Forum focused his speech on the Youth Guarantee; the European Union initiative that intends to facilitate access to employment or training for young people under 25. Päll regretted that it had not yet been fully implemented in many countries, a circumstance that he attributed to the fact that “the information is not reaching the NEETs and, therefore, this is our greatest challenge”. In addition, he called for more funding for this programme, although he acknowledged that “the best guarantee is secure employment, receiving a wage slip at the end of the month to be able to lead a decent life”. Allan Päll asked for greater collaboration from companies in job creation and criticised the conditions that many young interns have to work in. “Only one third of the 4.5 million interns in Europe enjoy a defined learning content”, he regretted.
“Employment must become the priority of all policies, a World Employment Pact is needed”. Such was the forceful opinion of the Director of the International Youth Organisation Office in Spain. The magnitude of the problem is huge if we take into account that “between 40 and 50 million young people want to join the labour market each year”. Therefore, he stressed that employment will continue to be included in the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015. Mr Nieto believes that employment policies are required that defend “the right to a decent job, social protection… Reforms should not be a pretext to deteriorate the working conditions of young people”.
Joaquin Nieto promised that, in 2019, the year the ILO will celebrate its centenary, there will be an in-depth reflection on employment in the twenty-first century, because “there is uncertainty on what that employment is going to be like. Its nature will depend on demography, the effects of climate change and technology, among other aspects”.
The Australian representative focused on the 2% increase in GDP by 2018 that G20 countries are committed to; an increase that should help reduce the figure of 75 million young people unable to find employment in the most highly developed economies. “There is an unemployment problem among young people but also a problem of informal employment. Almost two thirds of the population of Asia and the Pacific will not be able to find jobs”, she said.
In addition, she encouraged countries to strengthen their commitment towards young people. In this regard, she mentioned the example of Italy, Indonesia, Japan or China, where they are helping to create businesses, improve employability and, in the case of Indonesia, extend obligatory education. Pitt spoke about other labour-related issues that concern the G20, such as the gap between men and women, which “should close by 2015 at the latest” and Occupational Health & Safety, for which she urged improvements because “accidents lead to loss of productivity”.