Davos 2019: The Young Want More Jobs, Better Education From Davos Leaders
A World Economic Forum sign hangs inside the Congress Center ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

Davos 2019: The Young Want More Jobs, Better Education From Davos Leaders

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With over 3,000 global leaders beginning to descend on this snow-laden Swiss town for a week of brainstorming over global economy, an online poll conducted by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund said on Monday that all the young people want more jobs and better education.

The poll of 10,000 young people (below 35 years) from over 160 countries was conducted by Unicef in December through a social networking tool to bring the voices of youth to this year's alpine gathering of global movers and shakers.

For the first time in its history, the World Economic Forum has named six “Global Shapers” below the age of 30 as co-chairs of its annual meeting—a decision which recognises that young people are the demographic group most affected by the far-reaching disruptions affecting the world of work.

There are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 today—the world’s largest-ever group of young people. Every month, 10 million reach working age and they’re finding that yesterday’s skills no longer match today’s job market.
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, Unicef

"They want—and need—future skills for future work: digital skills, modern agriculture, green technology, and business and entrepreneurial skills. As a global community, business as usual isn't good enough. The private sector has a pivotal role in helping close the skills gap, and giving young people the ladders of opportunity they need to reach their potential," Fore added.

The views expressed in the poll speak of a crisis in education and skills. There are 71 million unemployed youth. Over 150 million young people are working, but living on less than $3 a day.

Globally, six out of 10 children and adolescents do not achieve minimum proficiency in reading and math, and 200 million adolescents are out of school.

Those most affected are those who need education and skills the most—girls and young women, children and adolescents living in conflict zones, and those with disabilities. The largest number of respondents—35 percent—identified more job opportunities as their top priority.

The second most important ask, identified by 26 percent of the respondents, was for better education, while 16 percent said protecting the planet and natural resources was most important.

In the survey, 15 percent wanted support for agriculture and entrepreneurship, while 8 percent called for improved access to technology. Just under half (47 percent) said globalisation was bringing people closer together while 36 percent said they thought it was widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Over three out of five, or 63 percent, felt that business leaders could do more to help young people succeed in today's globalised world.

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