Young, Able and Idle: Educating for a 21st Century Workforce

Seventy-five million and 43 percent. These two numbers frame the story of the dual jobs and skills crises facing youth worldwide. Seventy-five million young people are unemployed. Yet only 43 percent of employers surveyed say they can find enough skilled workers for entry-level openings. Compounding the situation is a fundamental disconnect between how different actors view the problem, and a lack of understanding about what makes for a successful education to employment system. This is particularly evident in the U.S. where 87 percent of educators believe graduates are adequately prepared for the job market, while only 49 percent of employers feel the same way.

These figures are among the findings revealed in the McKinsey Center for Government's newly released Education to Employment: Designing a system that works, a report that digs into the story behind the jobs/skills divide in search of solutions. 8500 employers, youth and educators across nine countries were surveyed to determine where the breakdowns are along the education to employment continuum. As the infographic below shows, it turns out there are challenges at every major juncture -- when young people enroll in postsecondary education, when they are acquiring skills, and when they actually look for a job. In short, the education-to-employment system is failing employers and young people alike.

That said, the report, which also draws from our analysis of more than 100 education-to-employment case studies in 25 countries, found many initiatives that are showing tremendous promise. These initiatives tell a hopeful story, however, in order to see these cohere or scale, we must treat education-to-employment as an integrated system -- one where youth, educators and employers work together, entering into each other's worlds to build in the right incentives and structure.

To learn more, join our live global roundtable on Monday, December 10 from 9-10:30AM ET, which will bring together leaders from Bogota, Delhi, Geneva and Washington, D.C. to reveal the report's findings and discuss how to move young people seamlessly from education to employment.