POLICY NOTE 04-Reeditor-2012
The skill labor mismatch taking place globally may contribute to increase youth unemployment rate, lower output, lower productivity leading to lower economic growth. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), youth unemployment has dramatically increased in most regions of the world. It is expected to reach 18% in developed economies and European Union by the end of 2012 while in Latin America it is likely to remain around 14%, above its pre-crisis level.
Solutions for this problem vary from country to country, depending on the stage of economic development, the structure of the economy, and the existing context. However, developing and emerging countries should focus on improving educational flexibility, skills and employability by investing in technical and vocational education, teachers’ training to develop new and soft skills and thus increase the quality of education, expand access to secondary education, update learning contents and the strengthening of school-to-work linkages. As it has been pointed out by the World Bank, a strategy to overcome skill labor mismatch depends on the pace of growth and income level of the country under study. For instance, a slowly growing middle-income country, such as Mexico, should apply strategies to build a life-long learning system, a talent pool for future growth, second-chance learning opportunities and validate learning experiences with the aim of gaining flexibility. Moreover, it would be also recommended that it channelizes more resources to update learning contents, train teachers and strengthen soft skills. With respect to employability, developing a public information system and setting up career guidance and an employment support system are also required.
Mexico should adapt its educational system to the real market conditions according to the structure of the economy reflecting a long-term development strategy. Ultimately, a long-run investment plan in education, R&D for innovation and information infrastructure may induce and smooth the transition to a knowledge economy.
About the author: PhD Fellow Economist & Researcher - Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany.