63% of young people aged 15 to 24 worldwide do not have access to the internet at home to learn at least basic digital skills. After the pandemic, automation is the next threat that could lead to the loss of jobs among young people

Nearly a quarter of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 worldwide, or about 325 million people, have lost their jobs or lost incomes due to the pandemic, and in the medium and long term automation is the next threat, reveals the report “Reaching YES. Addressing the youth employment and skilling challenge ”, conducted by PwC, UNICEF and Generation Unlimited.

The report notes that although the number of young people aged 15-24 increased by 30% between 1999 and 2019, the employment rate among them fell by about 12% over the same period. Among the young people who are employed, many are in the informal economy and have low-paying jobs, dangerous working conditions and low security. They were most at risk of losing their jobs during the pandemic. Among those who have a formal job, many are employed in positions below their qualifications because they do not have skills aligned with the needs of employers or because the supply for positions that would suit them is too low.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, in the second quarter of 2021, the employment rate of young people (15-24 years old) in Romania was 22%, almost 3 times lower than the employment rate of the general population of working age ( 15-64 years), 62.4%.

“The transition from school to the labor market is difficult for many young people either because they have prepared for professions where supply is too low, or because their skills are not in line with employers’ expectations, or because they do not want to follow other learning programs. , considering that formal studies are sufficient. In other words, there is a gap between what the real economy offers and the skills of the generations entering the labor market. The situation risks becoming more complicated in the context of accelerated digitization, which will require more and more sophisticated training, meaning technical skills, but also creativity, communication, critical thinking and the ability to solve problems. Both formal education systems and employers have a mission and a responsibility to help young people integrate into the labor market, ”said Dinu Bumbăcea, PwC Romania Country Managing Partner.

Many jobs that have traditionally been held by young people are at risk of being automated at an accelerated pace, and without educational programs, declining employment rates and unemployment among them can have wider social implications by increasing polarization, eroding institutional trust and generating social disorders. More worryingly, 63% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 worldwide do not have access to the Internet at home to learn at least basic digital skills.

The acquisition of the right skills for the labor market by young people is a global issue and needs to be addressed at national and local level, especially in a context where companies are on the agenda to increase productivity through automation.

Over 40% of general managers in Romania, interested in increasing productivity through automation

According to the CEO Survey 2021 report, 83% of CEOs globally plan to increase investment in digitization. At the same time, 36% want to increase the productivity of their companies through technology and automation, which is more than double the share of executives who said the same thing in 2016. And in this context, they have in the top priorities the creation of a qualified, educated and adaptable workforce.

The percentage is even higher in Romania, where over 40% of CEOs are interested in adapting the workforce strategy and increasing productivity through automation and technology to ensure the competitiveness of their organizations. About half of the general managers in Romania plan increases of over 10% of the investments in digital transformation.

Moreover, the general managers in Romania say that the availability of key skills is a threat to the development of organizations, 82% of them declaring themselves concerned and extremely concerned about this issue. Thus, 39% of them are interested in providing the necessary skills to employees and increase their ability to adapt to a dynamic and uncertain reality. Also, 61% of the leaders of organizations in Romania place on the third place in the top of the agenda of priorities of the Government the development of a prepared, educated and flexible workforce.