The Deeper Problem of Youth Unemployment

Screen shot 2013-08-13 at 11.12.25 AMHuman work in general, and employment in particular, has a twofold significance. In its objective sense, work represents the sum of activities, resources, instruments and technologies used by men and women to produce things. Work understood in this sense, is, therefore, the contingent aspect of human activity, which constantly changes in its expressions just as technological, cultural, social, and political conditions vary. In a subjective sense, work is to be seen as an activity of the human person, a dynamic being capable of performing a variety of actions that are part of the work process and that correspond to his nature – to shape our society and its future.

From a subjective point of view, work has a stable dimension, as it is independent of what people produce or what kind of activity they undertake, but it only and exclusively relies on their dignity as human beings. This distinction between work’s objective and subjective aspects is crucial for the understanding of the value of work and its dignity on the one hand and the importance we attribute to the big problem of unemployment – especially within youth – on the other.

As work is an essential expression of the person. The individual gives to work its particular dignity. Moreover, human work not only proceeds from the person, but it is also essentially ordered to and has its final goals in the human person. This may help to understand the vastness of the problem of unemployment for the youth. Young people, in general, have prepared for a very long time to enter the labour market: they took challenging exams, they spent time learning, they acquired different skills and made various experiences. They made all these efforts not to just enrich their knowledge and their personality – this is just one side of the coin. We as human beings are relation-based creatures. We are part of different communities – family, friends, school, workplace, society in general – and these different aspects of our lives have interdependent relationships. By contributing to the common good of our communities through work, we pursue our personal aim of happiness and fulfillment.

So this is why youth unemployment is a human tragedy: Millions of youth worldwide are eager to shape society, to contribute to its development, and to meet people’s needs by putting their knowledge and skills into practise, but they do not have a possibility of doing so.

This sad fact challenges the responsibility of the State to promote active employment policies that will encourage the creation of employment opportunities for young people. The State’s duty consists in creating legal, educational and organisational conditions which will encourage young entrepreneurs to start their businesses thereby creating plenty of new jobs. Such a development will allow youth to become the next generation of responsible and innovative members of our society, ensuring the same future to the generation after them.

By: Alexander Zarari, intern at WYA Europe