APYouthNet discussion forum consolidated product 5: Active labour market policies for young people

Synthesis of the Asia-Pacific Knowledge Network on Youth Employment (APYN) fifth discussion forum that took place 19-31 July 2010.

Throughout Asia, and indeed the world, unemployment and jobless rates amongst young people are much higher than they are for prime-age adults. According to the recent ILO global employment trends for youth, at the end of 2009 there were 12.8 million unemployed young people in East Asia, 8.3 million in South-East Asia and the Pacific and 15.3 million in South Asia. Young people face a number of additional obstacles to employment compared to their older counterparts. They tend to lack work experience and have fewer employable skills. Employers may prefer tried and tested employees with a proven work record. The current global recession has clearly exacerbated these difficulties and indeed, has affected young people disproportionately.

Active labour market programmes and policies (ALMPs) if properly designed can help young people access decent work. Over the past 25 years, they have increasingly been used to facilitate the labour market integration of young people. Their function is to mediate between labour supply and demand, mitigate education and labour market failures, and promote efficiency, equity, growth and social justice. ALMPs attempt to remedy failures of educational systems in equipping young people with employable skills and improve the efficiency of labour market matching.