The Youth Forum represents young people at the OECD Forum in Paris

04. 06. 2015

The Youth Forum participated in the OECD Forum 2015 in Paris on 2-3 June. With politicians, other representatives from civil society, business, trade unions, academia and media, the Youth Forum intervened in different panels focused on the issues of youth well-being, and quality jobs.

Having a job is crucial for ensuring the well-being of a person in society. In the Euro area, the youth unemployment rate is 23.2% - more than twice as high as the adult unemployment rate of 9%. When young people do become employed, chances are high that they are working in “mini-jobs”, zero-hour or short term contracts, lacking in long-term prospects, security, or development opportunities.

The Youth Forum believes that economic indicators should not be the only measurements used to assess how well countries or regions are performing. Social indicators are crucial to reflect the reality of young peoples’ lives.- as shown in the OECD’s Better Life Index which was presented throughout the two days. In the framework of the Better Life Index, the Youth Forum presented the results of a wikiconsultation on young peoples’ well-being, revealing that there is a strong knock-on effect of long term unemployment on a young person’s political participation in society, their social inclusion, their mental health- with a lasting impact on the autonomy and inclusion of youth in our societies.

The Youth Forum was pleased to note that youth employment and youth well-being was a focal point of the OECD Forum, mentioned by politicians and business alike. The skills mismatch was often cited as one of the main obstacles to youth employment. However, whilst focusing on the skills mismatch is indeed important, it would only alleviate a small part of the issue. After the unnecessary continuation of austerity measures across Europe, supportive macroeconomic policies – investment for quality job creation - are strongly needed to achieve sustained and inclusive growth.. This is imperative in order to counteract the tide of rising inequalities, which have a negative impact not only socially but also economically.

Attention should also be given to ensure a discrimination-free working environment. Part of this is guaranteeing that young employees and interns are treated inclusively and fairly by employers, and not as a cheap labour force. The Youth Forum underlined this in Paris, highlighting also the benefits for employers of taking such a quality approach in the opportunities they offer young people. In a discussion on reverse mentoring, the Youth Forum stressed that young people have many innovative ideas to share as well as key skills that the older generation may be lacking. Reverse mentoring can be incorporated into  quality internship schemes. New approaches such as this must be implemented within a broader cultural shift towards a more inclusive, open and fair learning environment, fostering education that will ensure the youth of today can become an active and included part of our society tomorrow.

Read more:

- Visit the OECD Forum website

- Debate “Education on quality jobs”, watch the webcast.

- Our publication: Youth in the Crisis

- Our publication: An Employers Guide to Quality Internships

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General phone line: +32 2 793 75 20
fax: +32 2 893 25 80
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1000 Brussels

More information here.