Youth unemployment is becoming an issue in many parts of the world. In some countries, youths are unemployed because they lack proper education, training and skills, while in other countries, their youths are unemployed because there are not enough jobs for graduates in the country. On 27th December 2011, the report on "Labour Force, employment and unemployment - Third Quarter 2011" has been made public by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the first observation we can make in it is that the number of unemployed youth in Mauritius has increased.
Some figures from the report
This report is an indicator of the labour force, employment and unemployment in Mauritius from July to September 2011. In Mauritius, the working age is 16 years and over, and 984,800 persons fall under this category. Out of this, 583,700 (59.3%) are in the labour force, while 401,100 (40.7%) are not in the labour force. From those who are in the labour force, 537,800 (92.1%) are employed and 45,900 (7.9%) are unemployed.
|Figure from the Report|
According to the report, the main characteristics of the unemployed as at third quarter 2011 were as follows:
- The 45,900 unemployed comprised 19,500 males (42%) and 26,400 females (58%).
- Around 17,600 (38%) of them were aged below 25 years (3 out of 5).
- About 52% (23,800) of the unemployed were single. Among males, the majority (75%) was single while among females, the majority (65%) was ever married.
- Some 8,400 or 18% had not reached the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) level or equivalent and a further 18,400 (40%) did not have the Cambridge School Certificate (SC) or equivalent.
- Around 35,500 (77%) had been looking for work for up to one year and the remaining 10,400 (23%) for more than one year.
- About 30,500 (66%) had working experience and 15,400 (34%) were looking for a job for the first time.
- Around 19,000 (41%) were registered at the Employment Service.
- There were 8,600 (19%) young persons aged 16 to 24 years, not yet married and looking for a first job. Some 3,700 (43%) of them had not passed SC.
- Ever married (including widowed, divorced or separated) unemployed persons aged 25 to 44 years and having worked before numbered 11,800. Among them, about 9,100 (77%) had not passed SC.
- 4,800 or 10% of the unemployed were heads of households.
- 6,700 (15%) lived in households with no employed persons.
Some Government initiatives to fight youth unemployment
National budget 2012
In the National Budget 2012, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Xavier Luc Duval recognised that youth unemployment is a concern in the country and announced that with the collaboration of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), National Empowerment Foundation (NEF) and the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development (MITD), training programs would be designed and provided to the youths for them to have the required competencies to secure a job in the country. Also, the Minister also announced that a sponsored pre-job training initiative would be included in these training programs. Furthermore, it was mentioned that Mauritian youths should consider jobs in the tourism sector, medical sector and other innovative sectors.
The Government of Mauritius has also been encouraging its youth to get into entrepreneurship for several years through different policies. From an agricultural perspective, it can be said that there are so many opportunities in this sector that are not being exploited by youths. It is a fact that traditional farming is not attractive to youths, but it can become attractive if practised in a different way; Agro-processing, use of new techniques and machineries, application of ICTs etc.
It is true that unemployment in general is a sensitive issue and there is no standard or perfect way to tackle it. However, we should always focus on innovation/entrepreneurship and youths should be geared towards it.