The walled world of work — from
Youth unemployment is a massive waste of resources

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

France is not alone in having such problems. In the euro area, Greece, Spain and Italy all have rules that coddle insiders and discourage outsiders. Their youth unemployment rates are, respectively, 48%, 48% and 40%. Developing countries, too, often have rigid labour markets. Brazilian employees typically cost their employers their salary all over again in legally mandated benefits and taxes. South Africa mixes European-style labour protections with extreme racial preferences. Firms must favour black job applicants even if they are unqualified, so long as they have the “capacity to acquire, within a reasonable time, the ability to do the job”. Some 16% of young Brazilians and a stunning 63% of young South Africans are unemployed. Globally, average youth unemployment is 13% compared with the adult rate of 4.5%. Young people are also more likely than older ones to be in temporary, ill-paid or insecure jobs.

Joblessness matters for several reasons. First, it is miserable for those concerned. Second, it is a waste of human potential. Time spent e-mailing CVs or lying dejected on the sofa is time not spent fixing boilers, laying cables or building a business. Third, it is fiscally ruinous. If the young cannot get a foot on the career ladder, it is hard to see how in time they will be able to support the swelling number of pensioners. Fourth, joblessness can become self-perpetuating. The longer people are out of work, the more their skills and their self-confidence atrophy, the less appealing they look to potential employers and the more likely they are to give up and subsist on the dole.


Over the next decade more than 1 billion young people will enter the global labour market, and only 40% will be working in jobs that currently exist, estimates the World Bank.