Millennials Work to Solve the Wavering Economics of Youth Employment

ByKamleshan Pillay

As negotiations at the G8/G20 Youth Conference get underway in Washington, D.C., the first topic on the agenda of the Economic Committee was the issue of youth employment. 

The major debate with regards to youth employment was the implementation of subsidies versus tax incentives for youth employment. The employment of youth was seen as “high risk”, mainly due to the fact that youth are seen as having less experience even though they may be quite qualified. No general consensus was reached amongst the countries; there seemed to be reservations particularly from the Chinese and American delegations that these proposed youth specific employment policies would be seen to discriminate against the elderly. 

Countries such as Indonesia were highly in favor of the implementation of tax incentives, however other delegations needed more definition as to how these would be implemented. There was however, agreement that skills development was needed with the implementation of trans-boundary internships and scholarship programs. Furthermore, it was discussed that the implementation of a youth work agenda, similar to that of the work agenda in Brazil, would allow for a substantial decrease in youth unemployment (a figure that is estimated at up to 50% in Brazil). 

Increased social dialogue and better implementation in education facilities, as well as the implementation of interest specific education mechanisms that would cater to the needs of each individual government are some of the goals outlined in the Brazil's work agenda for youth. It was agreed by all the delegations that each country's specific environment would depict how youth employment would be addressed in each country. The concerns of the implementation of youth employment policy, besides the possible discrimination of elderly people, were the budget constraints that certain countries in Europe are facing: countries such as Italy remarked that there would be no implementation of policy that would raise government spending.

The overarching theme of proceedings Wednesday morning was that the structural mechanism would be more beneficial than debates over subsidies and tax incentives, as consensus could not be reached. There was, however, agreement amongst all the countries that there was a need for global scholarship and internship programs to promote skills development. Lastly, it was firmly agreed upon that there was a need for social dialogue as a broad theme within the implementation of youth employment policy; dialogue would allow for more interaction which could then determine the needs of the youth and government and identify where each country has specific gaps. The theme of education is to be discussed later in the afternoon session. From the initial negotiations, it does seem doubtful that there will be a consensus but hopefully there will be some favorable outcomes.