Over the summer, many young people are preparing to leave school, college or university and start work. But what does the jobs market look like? Are they getting the right guidance? And what role will technology play in their future careers?
Zero-hour contracts, a faltering economy and other factors are making it increasingly difficult for young people in many countries to take their first step on the career ladder. In fact, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that more than 200 million young people are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty.
Understandably, this lack of job opportunities has a negative effect on confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing. According to The Prince’s Trust, three out of five young people in the UK say they regularly feel stressed about jobs and money and a recent survey by Vodafone and YouGov revealed that more than a fifth (23%) of 18 to 24-year-olds across 15 countries have lost all confidence and worry that they don’t have the skills to take on any role, no matter how basic.
Jobs in the digital economy
Paradoxically, businesses are struggling to fill a wide range of digital technology roles that are critical for future growth – the European Commission estimates that around 500,000 digital jobs across the EU will remain unfilled by 2020.
It’s vital that young people not only learn digital skills but also receive guidance about how these skills can be used in sectors as diverse as accountancy, engineering and medicine. According to the Vodafone/YouGov survey, only 15% of young people who have received careers advice say it included guidance on future-focused digital roles.
Stories in the media about robots taking away millions of jobs can only add to young people’s worries. But the reality is more complex. While some jobs might disappear because of artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, others will be created – just as they were when the printing press and steam engine were invented. A recent OECD report acknowledges, however, that young people might find it harder to secure work as entry-level jobs often involve routine tasks that could be easily automated.
How Vodafone can help
As one of the world’s largest technology companies, Vodafone runs a number of initiatives to help young people prepare for their future in an increasingly digital world, including:
With the Esports industry booming and leading players earning millions, many young people dream of playing their favourite video games professionally. As a Premium Partner of ESL, the world’s largest Esports company, Vodafone invited Parent Zone to provide Esports careers advice for its PlayFaster website. Top tips include being positive but realistic and balancing video games with outdoor activities.
Vodafone has teamed up with Parent Zone to teach parents about digital resilience and online safety and empower them to test their child’s digital knowledge. Delivered in schools and other community spaces across Europe by Vodafone volunteers, the Digital Life Skills workshops focus on three key areas for young people: confident digital communications, capable use of online tools and critical thinking.
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