AKIPRESS.COM – The Ministry of Employment and Industrial 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. Participants in the event also discussed measures taken by the government to support youth employment and entrepreneurship.
In November 2021, the World Bank released a new report assessing the challenges faced by young people in Uzbekistan during the transition from secondary and higher education to work and the current measures taken by the government to address them. It also offers policy recommendations focused on labor market reforms that could be implemented in the short, medium and long term to improve the employability of young people. The Department of Employment and Industrial Relations, other government agencies and non-government organizations contributed to the preparation of the report.
According to the World Bank study, with 15 million young people up to 24 years old and 18 million up to 29 years old, young people are both an opportunity and a challenge for the economic development of Uzbekistan. They face higher employment constraints among the working-age population and exhibit high rates of inactivity and discouragement. Young people who do not have a job, education or training account for 24 per cent of 16-24 year olds and 26.4 per cent of 16-29 year olds.
The study found that the main employment challenges reported by young people include the shortage of jobs and low demand for labor in rural areas. Most young people are hired without formal registration and without opening an “employment book”. Young people complain about the low levels of wages compared to their aspirations. Social stereotypes and cultural norms have a profound impact on the participation of young women in economic activities, access to good employment opportunities and the gender pay gap.
Meanwhile, young people and employers are vouching for significant skill mismatches and gaps and their effects on hiring and job satisfaction. Few companies offer training to compensate for the lack of qualification. Market demand for higher education graduates is high, but access to universities is still limited. Information on the labor market is not easily accessible to students and job seekers to inform their career choices.
“Increasing the level of involvement of young people in the economy is a priority task for many countries around the world. Young people aged 16 to 30, entering the labor market for the first time, form long-term working attitudes, obtain 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 to 32%. As part of the national employment strategy being developed, we predict that by 2030, the coverage of young people with vocational training will reach 200,000 per year, and the newly created jobs will employ more than 300,000 young people, ”noted Minister Nozim Khusanov. of Labor Relations, in his opening remarks to the roundtable.
During the event, World Bank experts shared policy recommendations based on the report’s analysis that authorities may 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; expanding the supply 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 centers; advance regulatory reforms to remove barriers to professional and labor mobility between sectors and regions; facilitate the migration of organized (safe and productive) labor abroad.
The report highlights the importance of building stronger partnerships with employers to improve the effectiveness of demand-driven youth employment programs, such as internships, apprenticeships and wage subsidies. Strengthen cooperation between employers and educational institutions to improve vocational training and retraining programs according to the needs of the labor market.
“Uzbekistan is a young country and more and better jobs – especially for young people and women – are needed to meet its demographic trends and meet its ambitious goals of becoming a middle-income country of the higher by 2030, while reducing poverty by half. In addition, to be competitive for new jobs, young Uzbekistan will need knowledge and skills for the modern market economy, access to efficient and fair labor market systems and a business environment that facilitates self-employment. I hope that the new report presented today will facilitate the identification of policy actions aimed at improving the employability of young people in the future, ”said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Director for Uzbekistan.