Businesses, big and small, have to stand up for the COVID generation. Extend a hand to young graduates from the Class of Corona, offer them internships and first jobs, and bet on their future!
This crisis has brought an entire generation to a halt. Students and young graduates have classes and exams cancelled, and as many look to enter the labour market for the first time, they face an economy full of closed doors, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds that lack routes through privileged connections. The pandemic, which has forced many businesses to close and others to scale back, has destroyed traditional opportunities for newcomers. This has unravelled a decade of progress in tackling youth employment: by January 2021, across the OECD, about 1 in 7 young people aged 15 to 24 were unemployed.
Charities and civic organisations face increasingly desperate needs from the young, and many provide food banks and temporary accommodation. Across the world, national and local governments are stepping up their support to the young.
But we also need businesses to do more for a generation that risks being left out in the cold by the pandemic. Although some businesses, big and small, have continued to hire young graduates and invest in their futures, this is not enough. Missing out on that first step on the employment ladder can have a lasting impact on lifetime earnings, as well as on broader social outcomes. We need businesses around the world to take a stand for the Class of Corona. YOU, business owners, need to take action to support the next generation.
Even a small investment – for example through temporary hires, placements and internships can do a lot for them and for your business. This is a generation of digital natives that can help firms build an online presence. A generation that represents – and understands – younger, more socially conscious consumers and can tap into new demands. Above all, a generation with new ideas, that represents a chance – perhaps your best chance – to bounce forward better and be fit for the post-COVID world. Can you stand up for the COVID generation by creating internships and first jobs? Would you #AdoptACOVIDGraduate?
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Save the date for the OECD Youth Week on 20-24 September 2021.