Sen. Bam: Youth Unemployment a Growing Epidemic

With an estimated 700,000 fresh graduates joining the ranks of the unemployed, the number of jobless youth ranging from 15 to 24 years old in the country will breach the two million mark

Senator Bam Aquino believes that there will be no end in sight to this alarming trend unless the government launches a massive and serious campaign to address the problem.

“While we commend the government’s efforts to solve the rising number of unemployed youth in the country, it is not enough because, like an epidemic, the number keeps growing and growing every year,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

At present, Aquino said the number of unemployed youth accounts for half of the country’s 2.9 million jobless workers.

If the definition of youth under Republic Act 8044 is to be followed, the present number of jobless individuals ranging from 15 to 30 years old increased to 2.13 million.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that there are 3.8 million job vacancies waiting to be filled, especially in industries such as services, construction, tourism, and information, technology and communications, and the business process outsourcing (BPO).

“However, many of these vacancies remain as such because of other factors such as the prevalent job and skills mismatch,” said Aquino, adding that 35.8 percent of the time, applicants are rejected due to lack of competency or skill.

Aquino said the government should take steps to address job mismatch, which stems from lack of proper education and training of applicants for a particular line of work.

“Usually, job mismatch happens when an applicant cannot comply with the technical skills needed for a position,” Aquino said.

Aside from addressing job mismatch, Aquino encouraged the government to come up with programs that will help the youth turn into entrepreneurs.

The Senate has been tackling several bills on youth entrepreneurship to help address the problem of unemployed youth.

“With the slow pace of the country’s legislative mill, it will take months or years before these measures are enacted into law. That’s why the government needs to take the initiative and start these programs right away,” Aquino said.

Aquino believes that the government’s push for inclusive growth will not take off unless the problems of youth unemployment and underemployment are not immediately addressed.

The senator believes that would-be youth entrepreneurs should be given access to financing, training, market linkages, and other means of support that will help them run and develop their own businesses.

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