What you need to know
Many young people, particularly those from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, struggle to find stable employment because they lack guidance and information on the demands of the labor market. They include those who are attempting to move from farm to off-farm employment in order to earn more and diversify their sources of income.
One way to improve labor market outcomes for young people is to provide them with career guidance and employment services.
Defining career guidance and employment services
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines career guidance (link is external) “as the services and activities intended to assist individuals, of any age and at any point throughout their lives, to make educational, training and occupational choices and to manage their careers.”
Such services, OECD said, may be found in schools, universities and colleges, in training institutions, in public employment services, in the workplace, in the voluntary or community sector and in the private sector. The activities may include career information provision, assessment and self-assessment tools, counseling interviews, career education programs, ”taster” programs that allow job-seekers to sample options before making a decision, work search programs, and transition services.
The International Labour Organization (ILO), in a 2006 handbook on career guidance (link is external), noted research by the OECD, the World Bank, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Education and Training and the European Training Foundation, confirming the importance of career guidance, counseling, and information in helping achieve three goals:
improved labor market outcomes, including reducing mismatches between labor supply and demand; and
social equity and social inclusion.
Career advice and employment services support the aspirations of young people from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds in attaining stable employment, which the ILO defines as being employed for more than 12 months.
Career advise and support services should shorten the length of time to transition from school to further study and then into employment. In parts of Asia and the Pacific, a large number of young people find themselves looking for jobs for more than a year (link is external). In Bangladesh, they account for 45.3% of young job seekers and in Nepal, they account for 31.2%. The long wait opens them to the risk of their skills becoming obsolete, financial loss, and developing low self-esteem. And the longer the wait, the lower the chances of finding stable jobs.