Will the youth have a prosperous new year?
Surveys say that majority of Filipinos look forward to a great Christmas and New Year. Is there logic in this optimism?
More than half of the world’s population today is under 30. An ILO Geneva study showed that:
4 of 10 economically active youth are unemployed or are working but still poor
5 out of 10 youth in low-income countries have no education credentials at all
9 out of 10 young workers are in the informal economy without basic labor rights or protection from hazardous work
A 2015 Manpower, Inc. study found that “38% of employers worldwide are having a hard time filling open positions because workers lack the right hard and soft skills.”
Ritu Sharma wrote about the global youth bulge on November 28, 2016, “Tens of millions of them are entering the global workforce each year without the most basic hard or soft skills needed to succeed. Especially in low-income countries, education systems remain stuck in colonial times, while employers seek 21st century adaptability and self-direction in workers.”
Sharma continues, “Young women in the Middle East and North Africa have the hardest time finding employment, as employers and families remain biased against women working outside of the home. Female youth unemployment is 20-22 percent higher than male youth unemployment in countries across this region (ILO, 2015).”
At least one million Filipino youth turn 15 or graduate from college every year. The problem is that only one in five will find gainful employment in the formal sector, which has less than 20% absorptive capacity. In the Philippines, youth unemployment rate is roughly thrice the national unemployment rate.
Sometimes, I begin to doubt Rizal’s pronouncement about the youth being the hope of the Fatherland. When you watch the evening news, you see that most of the criminals are under 35, except for those in government. It makes you think that today’s youth are not so productive. They’re more counterproductive, non-productive, if not simply reproductive.
Government alone should not be solely burdened with solving the youth’s problems. Let’s not take away the responsibility from parents for raising responsible citizens. Government, however, must engage in programs aimed at developing the Filipino youth, equipping them with 21st century skills, and implementing policies that will help create more youth employment.
Advice to the youth
Today’s Filipino youth must:
Be self-reliant. It’s your life. Live it. Never depend on others (parents, government, donors, etc.) to give you the life you want. Nothing will come to you unless you work for it. You’ll get some crumbs thrown your way sometimes, but it will not give you the life you want. Never expect anybody to love you more than yourself.
Study. The billionaires who are school dropouts are the exception, not the rule. Education is a great equalizer. Poor but educated people before you succeeded in their life and career.
Work hard. There’s no substitute for hard work, except perhaps smart work. If you work hard and smart, you’ll increase your chances of succeeding.
Be multi-skilled. Learn as many skills while you’re young. Master these skills as you grow up and choose to be what you want. Never let others dictate what you should be. Let your passion decide what you want to be and work hard at being what you want to be.
Respect yourself and others. Always respect the rights of others, even if you don’t agree with them. Find a way to live with adversity, difficulty, and ambiguity. The world is not perfect. If you respect yourself, you’ll not do anything silly to besmirch your reputation. If others don’t conform with you, let it be–they have their own free will.
Be productive. Always do good. Create value–for yourself and others. Earn as much as you can, and spend lesser than you should. Make sure you save. When you need money, don’t expect that people will always be there for you.
Don’t do or say anything you’ll be later sorry for. Watch your tongue. Keep your cool. Don’t master the art of saying “I’m sorry.” Do it right the first time.
Love–and be loved. It’s the greatest thing on Earth.
If you want prosperity in 2017, work at it. You usually get what you go after, not what you deserve. (Email: erniececilia@ gmail.com)
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