Today, 73 million young people are unemployed worldwide, and three times as many are underemployed — often those working in the informal sector, facing low wages, no benefits, and a higher probability of being laid off. A further 621 million youth are said to be "idle" — not in education or training, and not looking for employment. Youth make up 17 per cent of the world's population and 40 per cent of the world's unemployed.
"When youth struggle at the beginning of their careers the repercussions can last a lifetime. This is not a future we want for the next generation, making it imperative that we take concrete steps to ensure youth have meaningful work opportunities and can lead productive and fulfilling lives," says Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), in his foreword to Digital opportunities: Innovative ICT solutions for youth employment. The ongoing information technology revolution is transforming established sectors from agriculture to health and creating new ones from microwork to apps development. ICT represent not only a cross-cutting tool but can help in reducing unemployment. The sector is marked by a pressing need for a wide range of ICT jobs. This means that highly qualified youth in technical fields have significant opportunities available to them. In response to youth challenges and emerging ICT opportunities ITU developed a Report Digital opportunities: Innovative ICT solution for youth employment (English - Español) aiming to cast a spotlight on promising solutions in the digital landscape for youth.
In support to this Report, ITU provides open access to a Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Resources Database for finding digital jobs, information on entrepreneurship, learning technical and soft skills, finding a mentor, and many other valuable services.