Youth unemployment is a major issue in Armenia today. Even though the number of school and university graduates grows annually, there are still millions of youth without meaningful work.
It is clear that being young, educated and involuntarily unemployed has profound effects on an individual’s future, as well as the broader economy.
From youth’s side the subjective justifications for unsuccessful experiences in the labor market are the lack of experience, lack of jobs in specific professions, inappropriate working hours and conditions, lack of links and connections, inadequate qualifications and a discrepancy between a graduates’ asking salary and the salary offered by employers.
We talk about youth unemployment while at the same time talk about a shortage of skilled labor. The problem isn’t necessarily lack of jobs, but rather lack of young people pursuing studies in the fields where the jobs are. This is because educational institutions are not being updated fast enough to keep up and meet the nowadays needs of employers. One of the solutions must be providing better information for high school students in terms of professional orientation and employability in the future. Government should invest heavily on education, education that will enable the youth to become self-reliant (through trainings) instead of job seekers. The lack of work experience and skills among unemployed point out to the huge need for internships, practical probation work and additional informal training for unemployed youth.
The right solution might involve turning to vocational education to minimize the skills mismatch between graduates and what the labor force needs.
It is hard for youth to find their first job without possessing any kind of past experience in the working field. Employers seem to prefer applicant who has previous experience in respective field, and tend to reject anyone who has been unemployed for a long period of time. This comes from the wrong opinion that unemployment is a sign of unproductivity.
There are also a number of youth who are entrepreneurial in nature and would be in a position to start their own businesses as opposed to wallowing in unemployment. Тhe problem is there are not so many financial institutions that are willing and ready to offer such enterprising young people loans to start their business.
The government must be very deliberate in support that should come in the form of access to seed capital for their start-ups.
We believe that each of us have a potential to find meaning in the work we do, and a capacity to make a difference in this world. Helping the youth find meaningful work will go a long way in changing their lives. It is clear that youth unemployment is one of the world’s biggest challenge, but it must not be put in a box marked ”too difficult to solve”.
Written by Zaruhi Lalayan