AKIPRESS.COM – The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations and the World Bank co-organized a roundtable to present the findings and recommendations of a new report analyzing the challenges and opportunities for youth employment in Uzbekistan. The participants of the event also discussed the measures taken by the government to support youth employment and entrepreneurship.
In November 2021, the World Bank released a new report assessing the challenges young people in Uzbekistan face in transitioning from secondary and higher education to work and the current measures taken by the government to address them. It also offers policy recommendations focusing on labor market reforms that could be implemented in the short, medium and long term to improve youth employability. The Department of Employment and Industrial Relations, other government agencies and non-governmental organizations contributed to the preparation of the report.
According to the World Bank study, with 15 million young people up to the age of 24 and 18 million up to the age of 29, young people are both an opportunity and a challenge for the economic development of Uzbekistan. They face greater employment constraints among the working age population and show high levels of inactivity rates and discouragement. Young people without employment, education or training represent 24% of young people aged 16 to 24 and 26.4% of young people aged 16 to 29.
The study found that the main employment challenges reported by young people include scarcity of jobs and low demand for labor in rural areas. Most young people are hired without formal registration and without opening an “employment booklet”. Young people complain about the low level of wages compared to their aspirations. Social stereotypes and cultural norms have a profound impact on young women’s participation in economic activities, access to good job opportunities and the gender pay gap.
Meanwhile, young people and employers testify to significant skills mismatches and gaps and their effect on hiring and job satisfaction. Few companies offer training to make up for the lack of qualifications. Market demand for higher education graduates is high, but access to universities is still limited. Labor market information is not readily available to students and job seekers to inform their career choices.
“Increasing the level of youth involvement in the economy is a priority task for many countries around the world. Young people from 16 to 30 years old, entering the labor market for the first time, form long-term work attitudes, get their first permanent job. In this age group, the employment rate in Uzbekistan is 30.9%. Meanwhile, this indicator in the Russian Federation corresponds to 27%, and in the euro area – 32%. As part of the national employment strategy being developed, we predict that by 2030, the coverage of young people through vocational training will reach 200,000 per year, and the newly created jobs will help to employ more than 300 000 young people,” noted Minister Nozim Khusanov. of employment and labor relations, in his opening address to the roundtable.
During the event, World Bank experts shared policy recommendations based on the report’s analysis that authorities can consider implementing to improve youth employability and awareness of active labor market programs. existing work to support them.
Among other policy actions, the report suggests the following: assess, reform and expand existing active labor market policies such as wage subsidies and apprenticeships; expand the provision of skills and start-up capital to support youth entrepreneurship; support the development of digital skills by integrating them into schools and vocational education and training centres; advancing regulatory reforms to remove barriers to labor and professional mobility across sectors and regions; facilitate organized (safe and productive) labor migration abroad.
The report highlights the importance of building stronger partnerships with employers to improve the effectiveness of demand-side youth employment programs such as internships, apprenticeships and wage subsidies. Strengthen cooperation between employers and educational institutions to improve vocational training and retraining programs by aligning them with labor market needs.
“Uzbekistan is a young country and more and better jobs – especially for young people and women – are needed to meet its demographic trends and achieve its ambitious goals of becoming an upper-middle-income country of by 2030, while halving poverty. Furthermore, to be competitive for new jobs, young people in Uzbekistan will need knowledge and skills for the modern market economy, access to efficient and fair workplaces and a business environment that facilitates self-employment. I hope that the new report presented today will facilitate the identification of policy actions to improve the employability of young people in the future,” said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank country director for Uzbekistan.