PwC and UNICEF today jointly announced that they are embarking on a three-year collaboration to help equip young people around the world with the skills needed for the future of work. This collaboration comes on the heels of research findings that millions of youth around the world are potentially not being prepared with the skills they need to get jobs, even as the talent crunch worsens for businesses.
A poll via UNICEF’s U-Report platform found that 31 percent of young people feel the skills and training programmes offered to them do not match their career aspirations, and 39 per cent go on to say that the jobs they seek are not available in their communities. The time it takes for young people to enter the job market corroborates this: on average, young people today take one and a half years just to get their first job, and four and a half years to find a decent job (using the International Labor Organization’s definition, which explicitly includes a fair wage, job security, and equal opportunity and treatment in the workplace.)
The UNICEF-PwC collaboration aims to try to address this problem by supporting research on the growing global skills challenge, and additionally supporting education and skills programmes in low and middle-income countries.
“We believe business has a responsibility to help address the upskilling challenge for all of our stakeholders, including the communities in which we live and work and all of their citizens,” said Bob Moritz, chairman of the PwC Network. “Many of the people who need upskilling the most have the least access to opportunities.”
Henrietta Fore, the executive director of UNICEF, said that both public and private institutions have to work together on the issue. “Young people are telling us they want digital and transferable skills to succeed in the workplace of the future,” she said.
The need to equip young people with future-ready skills is urgent. As automation becomes increasingly widespread, as much as 40 percent of the jobs now held by youth aged 16-24 years may be lost by 2030. And even as this happens, 10 million young people around the world are reaching working age every month.