Why youth unemployment is a much bigger problem than we think.

What is unemployment and who actually falls under the “unemployed” category? Do you know? It appears I for one had no clue about it. I thought it is one thing, and it turned out to be a whole another one. See, the problem is, when we don’t know what we are dealing with, therein lies the core of big issues such as youth unemployment. Why you may ask? Go on reading…

Looking up the definition of unemployment , it reads:

Unemployment occurs when people who are without work are actively seeking paid work.”[1]

Whereas, the classification of youth unemployment is:

Youth unemployment is the unemployment of young people, defined by the United Nations as 14–28 years old. An unemployed person is defined as someone who does not have a job but is actively seeking work. In order to qualify as unemployed for official and statistical measurement, the individual must be without employment, willing and able to work, of the officially designated ‘working age’ and actively searching for a position. ”[2]

“Youth unemployment rates are historically four to five times more than the adult rates in every country in the world”. This means that the youth unemployment problem has been here for a long time, however little has been done on the matter. Studies have been done on the subject, yet seeing that the problem still exists, it is safe to say that few actions have been taken since.

According to the latest data on, currently South Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate with a whole 54.50%. Whereas, in the EU it is 18.60% and specifically in the Netherlands — 10.80% or 550000 people. What does this all mean, you may ask. Well, let me put it simply for you: under the normal circumstances, when a young person is unemployed and cannot find a job, he/she is exposed to low self -esteem because he/she doesn’t have the necessary freedom like others to take part in social activities, travel or even pursue his/her passion due to lack of financials. Additionally an unemployed youngster is more likely to go down the wrong path while looking for alternative solutions to make any source of income to sustain their basic needs. Finally, this situation leads to more and more individuals doubting the whole system “go to school –> get a degree –> start a job” cycle is broken and the young person going through this hard time is more likely to give up and even engage in any sort of criminal behaviors out of despair.

Let’s be very honest, at some point of our youth years we all went through difficult times aroused from out lack of finances. I for one did! Those were very difficult times, but I had friends and family behind me so I managed. But not everyone is as lucky! The most important in these moments is not to give up and close yourself. And in the end, when everyone is happy and employed, isn’t this going to be a better world after all?

But how can we achieve this and where does the entrepreneurs’ role come in? Check out our next article to find out.

Marina Nikolova

Head of blogging at WeTeach

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