Education at a Glance comes at a time when youth unemployment between 2008 and 2011 climbed steeply in most countries and have remained high ever since. Young people have been particularly hard-hit by un- and underemployment as a result of the global recession. These young people are forced to pay a very high price for a crisis that was not of their making, with long-lasting consequences for their skills, work morale and social integration. The demoralising short-term effects for individuals, families and communities demand urgent policy responses, while the longer term ramifications, in terms of skills loss, scarring effects and de-motivation, are real and affect countries’ potential forsustainable recovery.
The crisis has also produced ample evidence that a good education provides valuable insurance against a lack of work experience: the impact of educational attainment on unemployment is much greater for younger people than it is for older adults. Though many factors play a role in a country’s capacity to contain the rise in youth unemployment in times of crisis, the way institutional arrangements between education and work facilitate transitions into employment is perhaps one of the most important. This year’s Education at a Glance provides more detailed data on programme orientation (general versus vocational) in secondary and tertiary education.