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The future of work and youth

The world of work is changing, shaped by four global megatrends: globalisation, climate change, demographic changes, and technological advancements. Each megatrend brings its own unique challenges for young people and the future of work, as well as some opportunities. With the potential of these megatrends to shape the type of work that is required, the type of work that is available, and who undertakes it and how, there is a need to reflect on the role and value of work in society and in people’s lives. Changes to the nature of work itself must inevitably lead to discussion on the value and recognition of other contributions to society. Young people are already at a disadvantage in the labour market. They often experience age-based discrimination in terms of their access to quality work, fair wages, or welfare systems. Transitions from education to employment have become increasingly difficult and many of the young people who do find work are caught up in a cycle of precariousness, without access to workers’ rights or social protection. The barriers that young people face in accessing their social and economic rights risk being exacerbated in the future of work as new challenges emerge. In this context, this report identifies and discusses five key themes that present challenges and opportunities for young people in Europe in the context of the future of work: skills, access to social protection, workers’ rights and wellbeing, just transition and environmental concerns, and equality.This report demonstrates that European governments and institutions must prioritise social protection systems that are inclusive of youth, invest in their education, and support and protect young people’s rights, within and outside the workplace. Moving towards a future of work that is not inclusive of all young people can no longer be an option for Europe. The region must strive for a future of work that allows young people, whether in work or not, to feel that their contribution to society is valued; a future of work that respects young people’s social and economic rights; and a future of work that helps set the world on a more sustainable path.