Empowering the workforce of tomorrow: The role of business in tackling the skills mismatch among youth


13 July, 2021




The future of work is changing fast. Technology, socio-economic trends, and developments and crises like COVID-19 are changing the world of work and the demand for skills at a pace and depth that poses serious challenges to people, business, and society. Young people and future generations, especially when they are from disadvantaged groups, are disproportionately affected by these disruptions.

A key challenge to shaping a sustainable future of work is addressing the skills mismatch among youth. Despite young people around the world being more educated than ever before, hundreds of millions of individuals are coming of age and finding themselves unemployed and unemployable, lacking the right skills to take up the jobs available today and, even more, the skills that will be needed in the future.

Based on combined insights from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and WBCSD’s Future of Work project, this report highlights the importance of addressing the skills mismatch among youth, with a view to helping businesses better understand the challenge, its root causes and the impacts it has on youth, business and society more broadly.

The report also brings to life the role business can play in addressing the skills mismatch among youth and seeks to inspire business leaders to strengthen their companies by empowering youth through business action, partnerships and advocacy on skills development.