The International Labor Organization’s (ILO) latest report (October 19) on global youth employment presents a grim picture for the future of young adults in the job market in the face of the current economic crisis and calls them a ‘scarred’ generation.

The Global Employment Trends for Youth (GET Youth 2011) report said that not much has changed since its 2010 report  "warned of the possibility of scarring," stating that "the bad luck of the generation entering the labour market in the years of the Great Recession brings not only current discomfort… but also possible longer term consequences in terms of lower future wages and distrust of the political and economic system."

The scarring comes from a dangerous mixture of "unemployment, underemployment, and the stress and social hazards associated with joblessness and prolonged inactivity," according to the report.  It also notes that the world is seeing the consequences of youth frustration in the protests erupting from Wall Street to the ‘Los Indignados' movement in Spain and others across Europe and the Middle East.

The ILO maintains that the younger generation will face a long period of job searches with part-time jobs often being the only option for graduates or young adults in the job market.

As bad as the situation is in most developed countries "where young people have paid the highest price over the course of the crisis," the report notes that it’s much worse for youth in the developing world.

Globally there was an increase of 4.5 million in the youth unemployment rate in 2010 with the statistics for Ireland being particularly striking where youth unemployment reached 27.5 % last year.

According to José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director of the ILO Employment Sector, governments are struggling to find innovative solutions such as building new skills through training programs but also dealing at the macronomic level and involving influential actors such as trade unions, banks and the private sector. 

But ultimately he said, “More jobs must come from measures beyond the labour market that aim to remove obstacles to growth recovery such as accelerating the repair of the financial system, bank restructuring and recapitalization to re-launch credit to small and medium sized enterprises, and real progress in global demand rebalancing."