Covid-19 impact: ILO calls for global policy response to protect employment prospects for youth

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The International Labour Organisation has called for urgent, large-scale and targeted policy responses from governments across the globe to protect a whole generation of young people from having their employment prospects permanently scarred by the crisis as it fears the pandemic would have a devastating effect on the education and training of young people and their work.

The measures include re-integrating into the labour market those who have lost their jobs or who have experienced a reduction in working hours, ensuring youth access to unemployment insurance benefits, and measures to boost their mental health – from psychosocial support to sports activities, it said in its report.

“The pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on young people. It is not only destroying their jobs and employment prospects, but also disrupting their education and training and having a serious impact on their mental well-being,” Guy Ryder, director-general, ILO said.

As per the report, this has had an impact on their mental well-being. The survey found that 50% of young people are possibly subject to anxiety or depression, while a further 17% are probably affected by it.

The report further said that 38% of young people are uncertain of their future career prospects, with the crisis expected to create more obstacles in the labour market and to lengthen the transition from school to work.

Some have already felt a direct impact, with one in six youth having to stop work since the onset of the pandemic. Many younger workers are more likely to be employed in highly affected occupations, such as support, services and sales-related work, making them more vulnerable to the economic consequences of the pandemic. Forty-two per cent of those who have continued to work have seen their incomes reduced, it added.

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