Trabajo infantil: dónde estamos y qué falta por hacer

A pesar de que el trabajo infantil se ha reducido en todo el mundo de forma significativa, todavía estamos lejos de su erradicación. De acuerdo con la Organización Internacional del Trabajo, aunque el trabajo infantil decreció un 38% entre los años 2000 y 2016, aún alrededor de 152 millones de niños de entre 5 y 17 años se encuentra en esta situación a nivel global. Si bien la región más afectada es África (donde 1 de cada 5 niños trabaja), en América Latina y el Caribe la incidencia de trabajo infantil es alta: alcanza al 7% de los niños. Dos países de la región, Haití y Perú, nos ofrecen evidencia para analizar mejor este fenómeno.

¿Por qué el trabajo infantil es un problema?

Como discutimos en este articulo anterior, al margen de las necesarias consideraciones éticas, el trabajo infantil es preocupante desde la óptica de las políticas sociales por sus potenciales efectos negativos sobre la situación actual y futura tanto de los niños como de sus países. El trabajo infantil reduce la posibilidad de que los niños puedan beneficiarse de la educación, ya sea porque el trabajar les impide ir a la escuela completamente, los lleva a reducir las horas para el estudio en la escuela o en casa, o porque afecta su capacidad de aprendizaje. Llevar a cabo actividades laborales extenuantes o riesgosas pueden afectar la capacidad de aprendizaje y, en general, la salud de los niños. Esta pérdida de acumulación de capital humano tiene efectos directos sobre el bienestar presente y futuro de los niños y de sus hogares, y sobre la productividad y crecimiento de los países en el largo plazo.

¿Quiénes son los más afectados?

La probabilidad que un niño trabaje depende de sus características individuales, las de su hogar y del contexto en el que vive. Los trabajos que los niños realizan también varían con base en estas características. Los datos longitudinales de Young Lives permiten analizar la evolución del trabajo infantil en una muestra de niños en cuatro países en desarrollo, incluido Perú, durante un periodo de 15 años.

Porcentaje de niños en trabajo remunerado

El gráfico muestra que la probabilidad de trabajar aumenta con la edad, particularmente después de los 15 años, que es cuando los niños están próximos a terminar la educación secundaria. Se ve también que los niños viviendo en hogares más pobres (tercil inferior) tienen más chances de trabajar que los niños en hogares menos pobres. En un estudio publicado recientemente, encontramos también que el terremoto del 2010 en Haití provocó que los niños provenientes principalmente de hogares más vulnerables estudien menos y trabajen más.

La parte inferior del gráfico muestra que, a edades tempranas, el trabajo infantil consiste mayoritariamente en actividades agrícolas, las que pierden importancia a medida que aumenta la edad de los niños. Existen también importantes diferencias de género en la asignación de trabajo remunerado y doméstico. De acuerdo con los datos de Young Lives para Perú (vea aquí la visualización interactiva) se observa que, a partir de los 10 años, las niñas se dedican a más tareas domesticas que los niños. En el mencionado estudio en Haití encontramos también que, mientras que los niños aumentan relativamente más sus horas de trabajo “para el mercado”, las niñas lo hacen relativamente en actividades domésticas.

Además del nivel de pobreza y la edad y género de los niños, hay otros factores que contribuyen a explicar la existencia del trabajo infantil. Los padres pueden decidir enviar a sus niños a trabajar, en vez de a estudiar, cuando sus expectativas sobre los retornos de la educación son muy bajos, ya sea porque la calidad de la educación es baja o porque los costos de atender a la escuela son altos. Como vemos, las preferencias de los padres también juegan un papel importante. Cuando los recursos son escasos, pueden decidir sacrificar la educación de los niños que consideran que tienen menos chance de beneficiarse de ella (por ejemplo, los que han mostrado peores resultados académicos previamente), de los que tienen más chance de obtener retornos trabajando (por ejemplo, los más fuertes), o diferenciar por otras razones (por ejemplo, por el nivel de cercanía biológica).

¿El trabajo infantil es siempre perjudicial?

Aunque el trabajo infantil excesivo o en actividades peligrosas afecta al bienestar y a la acumulación de capital humano de los niños, existen situaciones en las que resulta difícil calificar al trabajo infantil como perjudicial. Cuando no existen políticas sociales de apoyo, el trabajo infantil puede ser una estrategia familiar necesaria para lidiar con situaciones económicas adversas. Por otra parte, la evidencia cualitativade Young Lives muestra que algunos niños que trabajan manifiestan orgullo por apoyar económicamente a sus hogares, además de adquirir habilidades y redes laborales.

Para continuar disminuyendo el trabajo infantil es necesario seguir invirtiendo en políticas sociales. Son numerosas las medidas a impulsar: los programas de transferencias condicionadas, destinados a aliviar las restricciones económicas de los hogares; continuar mejorando la cobertura y reducción de los costos para el acceso a la educación y mejorando su calidad; y diseñar políticas focalizadas en aquellos niños en mayor riesgo de trabajar. Es también necesario reforzar los mecanismos de detección y sanción de formas de trabajo infantil que, por su intensidad o por ser peligrosos, ponen en riesgo el bienestar de los niños.

*Este artículo cuenta con la coautoría de Marta Favara.

 

https://blogs.iadb.org/trabajo/2018/06/11/trabajo-infantil-donde-estamos-y-que-falta-por-hacer/

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Superdiversity, social cohesion, and economic benefits

Superdiversity can result in real economic benefits—but it also raises concerns about social cohesion

Massey University, New Zealand, and IZA, Germany

ONE-PAGERFULL ARTICLE

Elevator pitch

Empirical studies have found that achieving superdiversity—a substantial increase in the scale and scope of minority ethnic and immigrant groups in a region—can provide certain economic benefits, such as higher levels of worker productivity and innovation. Superdiversity can also provide a boost to local demand for goods and services. Other studies have found that these benefits can be compromised by political and populist anxieties about ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity.

The percentage of foreign-born residents is
                        as high as 25% or more in traditional immigrant-receiving countries

Key findings

Pros

Studies find a diversity dividend of higher productivity and innovation for regions and cities with large immigrant populations.

Diversity creates an environment for the cross-fertilization of ideas that contributes to creativity and innovation.

Investments and increased local aggregate demand created by diversity encourage product and process innovation.

Superdiversity reflects and contributes to new global connections and a local or international cosmopolitanism.

Cons

Superdiversity challenges the assumptions and practices of a shared civic culture and citizenship, and raises concerns about social cohesion.

Anxieties about the growing diversity of labor markets and communities have been associated with discrimination and anti-immigrant politics.

Author’s main message

Superdiversity can lead to positive social and economic benefits for welcoming communities and economies. However, the benefits can be compromised by the anxieties and hostility of some community members. The scale and growth of cultural diversity have implications for social cohesion, economic performance, and social mobility. Policy is critical in addressing these dimensions to realize the potential of superdiversity. Governments can support intercultural dialogue, adopt anti-discrimination laws, improve credentials recognition, promote language training and job search techniques, and ameliorate disadvantage that impedes social mobility.

Motivation

Many countries have seen major increases in immigrant arrivals since the 1980s (see Figure 1). In traditional immigrant-receiving countries such as Australia, Canada, Israel, and New Zealand, 25% or more of the population are foreign-born. Even in countries that have historically not relied on immigration for skills or population growth, such as France and the UK, the foreign-born populations makes up as much as 12% of the population.

The percentage of foreign-born residents is
                        as high as 25% or more in traditional immigrant-receiving countries

As a result, ethnic and immigrant diversity has become a salient characteristic of many countries and cities. The presence and dynamics of these large minority ethnic and immigrant communities are collectively referred to as “superdiversity” [1]. The term is also used to indicate a more complex interplay of variables (such as immigration status, rights, divergent labor market experiences, gender and age, spatial distribution, and local responses).

This paper highlights some of the positive and negative factors that arise from superdiversity and looks at whether superdiversity provides societies with real economic benefits. Inevitably, the answer is mixed. This is due, in part, to limitations of the research and policy literature on immigrant settlement and integration, which does not always provide empirical evidence directly related to the contemporary circumstances of superdiversity. In addition, the policy issues are inherently complex and provoke concerns about societal cohesion (some reasonable, but some that reflect an anti-immigrant prejudice) that often represent a challenge to communities and countries.

Discussion of pros and cons

Diversity and innovation

New levels of immigration in recent decades, along with the resulting rise in ethnic diversity, have raised fundamental questions about the benefits of diversity, especially true when it reaches superdiversity levels. One obvious policy issue is whether this diversity is associated with economic benefits (a “diversity dividend”), particularly at the city or regional economic level. Do immigration and enhanced levels of ethnic diversity yield economic benefits?

There is growing evidence of verifiable benefits, especially in studies of the links between diversity and productivity, creativity, and innovation. A complicating factor is the possibility that other influences besides diversity also contribute to this association. For instance, self-selection might propel people who are “more entrepreneurial and less risk-averse” to migrate. Or, where high-skilled migrants make up a good part of the mix, “occupational diversity might be just as important as cultural diversity” [2].

However, the research literature does suggest that there are benefits from immigration and ethnic diversity alone. A study exploring the association between diversity and creativity and innovation in the US found that areas that were open and tolerant were able to attract more talent and, as a consequence, exhibited higher levels of innovation [3]. While the study focused on sexual orientation (“Gay Index”) as a key marker of diversity, it also explored the role of immigration, along with more orthodox input factors (such as research and development spending, venture capital, and start-up firms). The study offered three conclusions:

  • Regional growth in the US is driven by immigration.
  • An openness to outsiders attracts entrepreneurial individuals and firms, including immigrants (described as “innovative outsiders”).
  • Immigrants play a key role in innovative areas such as Silicon Valley.

The study found no strong statistical association between the percentage of foreign-born residents in a region (“Melting Pot Index”) and the number of patents granted per capita (“Innovation Index”). Nevertheless, it showed convincingly that diversity—involving a mix of artists, gays, and ethnic minorities—is associated with resourceful, highly self-reliant communities that are tolerant of newcomers, and who are motivated to build networks and mobilize resources. A study of superdiversity and urban economic performance in the UK reached a similar conclusion.

This connection between immigration (especially the doubling of foreign-born residents in developed countries since 1980) and innovation has been the subject of a number of other studies. One study used data for 12 European countries to test whether an increase in immigrants was associated with higher levels of innovation [2]. It found that “innovation levels are…positively associated with the cultural diversity of the migrant community,” while noting that “this effect…only operates beyond a minimum level of diversity.”

Diversity can provide a boost to local aggregate demand for goods and services [2]. New investment encourages product and process innovation, just as migrants, especially skilled migrants, add to the capital stock of host regions. The “benefits of size, density, and diversity in large cities yield higher returns to capital.” Diverse areas provide an environment conducive to the cross-fertilization of ideas that contributes to innovation. Even after controlling for the effect of other factors that enhance innovation, “the positive contribution of diversity survives; hence a diverse society enhances the creativity of regions.”

Another study—which also used data for 12 European countries—examined the relationship between diversity and productivity, and reached similar conclusions [4]. A key finding is that cultural diversity has a positive effect on both production and consumption. Using data for the US, the study found that Americans are also more productive in a culturally diverse environment. In Europe, diversity (here defined as the foreign-born share of the population, using a fractionalization index) is positively correlated with productivity. Moreover, the study concluded that causation runs from diversity to productivity.

Each of these studies suggests that there is a “diversity dividend”—an economic benefit of higher productivity and innovation—for immigrant-receiving regions and cities. But while the level of diversity is an important factor, the nature of immigration is also relevant, from the source countries to the level of worker skills and experience.

While many studies have identified positive economic benefits from diversity, other studies have examined the economic costs of immigrant-related (and other forms of) ethnic heterogeneity. One study asked the question: “Is ethnic diversity ‘good’ or ‘bad’ from an economic point of view?” [5]. For example, when there is considerable heterogeneity and fragmentation in a society, are there trade-offs between diversity and, in particular, the provision of public services? Looking at US cities, the study concluded that there are certain costs, including lower or less efficient provision of public goods, as well as less trust and an unwillingness to redistribute income.

Diversity, inequality, and social cohesion

The potential economic benefits aside, superdiversity can pose a challenge to shared civic culture and values. Citizenship implies a degree of commitment to shared values and practices as part of membership of a national community. Issues of integration and equity also arise, as well as the willingness of local and national authorities to recognize and protect minorities and encourage integration.

Shared values and practices have been under pressure, both in countries with modest levels of immigration and in countries, regions, and cities where immigrants and ethnic minorities constitute a substantial proportion of the population. As a consequence, research and policy interest in settlement outcomes and in relations between native-born populations and immigrants and minority ethnic groups has intensified, especially as these factors often constitute barriers to the acceptance of superdiversity. There are important distinctions to be made between country-specific histories of immigration and the way in which immigration is seen as contributing to—or undermining—national and local interests.

Persistent inequalities between immigrant and native-born populations

Canada is an example of a superdiverse society (a quarter of all Canadian residents were born in another country). It is also home to a number of superdiverse cities—most notably Toronto, where 45% of the population is foreign-born. Despite the early adoption of multicultural policies (in the 1970s) and a prevailing national narrative that values immigration and immigrants, persistent inequalities between majority and minority ethnic groups have prompted concerns about outcomes and equity.

Researchers have found evidence for the existence of both objective and perceived ethno-racial inequalities in Canada [6]. Obstacles to immigrant success appear to have increased, as is reflected in the “downward trend in the employment rates and earnings of successive cohorts of newly arrived immigrants, both male and female.”

In 1981, immigrant men earned average wages equivalent to almost 80% of the wages earned by native-born men. By 1996, that ratio had fallen to just 60%. For immigrant women, average earnings dropped from 73% of the wages earned by native-born women to 62% (Figure 2). These drops in relative wages came despite rising education levels among immigrants. This disadvantaged position of immigrants, which was unrelated to their skills, suggests that the Canadian labor market was not adequately recognizing immigrant skills and experience. The income gap between the native-born population and immigrants was largest for visible immigrants, those who are distinctive in terms of physical appearance compared with the majority white host population.

Average wages of immigrants as a % of
                        native wages in Canada

The low income levels appeared to have slowed immigrant integration only slightly [6]. Statistically more influential for immigrant integration was the level of trust between immigrant and other communities, combined with the immigrants’ experiences of discrimination and feelings of vulnerability. These effects applied not only to the first generation of immigrants, but remained significant for the integration of the second generation. The benefits of diversity were thus undermined by poor economic outcomes and the effects of discrimination and low levels of trust.

Public attitudes toward immigration

The negative effects of discrimination are typically reflected in public attitudes towards immigrants. A study that summarizes the results of public opinion polls in 13 countries found significant variation in attitudes toward the level of immigration (whether it should be increased, stay the same, or be decreased) and the belief that immigrants improve a society by bringing new ideas and enriching the culture [7].

Where immigration is part of a nation-building effort (as in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand), attitudes tended to be more positive toward immigrants. For example, in Australia and Canada (and to a lesser but still significant extent in New Zealand), about a quarter of those who responded indicated that they wanted to see the level of immigration increased. This contrasts starkly with European countries, where the percentages of people who wanted to see immigration increase were in single digits. About one-third of Australian and Canadian respondents believed that immigration should be decreased, while in France, Germany, and the UK, two-thirds (or more) responded in the same way.

Attitudes about the benefits of immigration also varied considerably. Survey respondents in Switzerland were most likely to agree that immigration provides benefits, followed by respondents in Canada and New Zealand. The figures ranged from a high of 76% (in Switzerland) to a low of 33% (UK).

Government promotion of diversity

In situations of superdiversity, evidence indicates that government policy needs to address particular challenges: integration and social cohesion, economic performance, and social mobility [8]. The Cities for Local Integration Policy (CLIP) network provides an extensive list of policy options as part of a good-practice guide to promote integration and social cohesion [9]. In particular, they recommend that governments address a range of factors, including inclusive intercultural dialogue and the adoption of anti-discrimination law and policies, and provide support for migrant organizations. An important element is addressing negative attitudes and discrimination as contributing factors to community tension and exclusion.

Negative attitudes about the benefits of immigration, combined with discrimination, inhibit positive settlement outcomes and contribute to community tension. This raises the question of whether national and local authorities have been (or can be) influential in promoting the acceptance of immigrants and diversity, especially where communities are indifferent or even hostile to immigrants.

The European Union’s Attitudes to Migrants, Communication, and Local Leadership (AMICALL) project examined how local authorities in six European countries (Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK) have responded to the challenges of immigrant integration, especially given anti-immigrant attitudes. In 2004, EU member states agreed that integration was a “dynamic, two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of Member States.” The project sought to identify strategies for local authorities to promote integration, given the presence of large immigrant communities in some EU countries, as well as strong anti-immigrant attitudes (indicated by disagreement with the statement that diversity is a positive attribute and agreement that multiculturalism has reached its limit).

The AMICALL project discovered that local authorities are contributing to integration, even where national authorities have been reluctant to promote integration policies. There are substantial challenges in addressing anti-immigrant attitudes. The research concluded that strong leadership was required, along with a strong and inclusive local identity, two-way communication with citizens, and partnerships with stakeholders. It also noted, however, that evaluation and impact assessments of what works were lacking in the European context.

A second factor in the successful settlement of immigrants and acceptance of diversity is related to economic performance and outcomes. Governments can enhance economic outcomes for immigrants through:

  • credential recognition;
  • transition programs that provide relevant qualifications or work experience;
  • language training; and
  • job search techniques or business start-up support, as well as by encouraging firms to employ migrant job-seekers.

Vancouver provides a case study of a superdiverse city and the way in which federal and local government combine to enhance the economic integration of immigrants.

A third factor, social mobility, is directly related to economic outcomes, but research also links mobility to the social capital that is available to immigrants and to neighborhood effects such as the ethnic or socio-economic character of residential areas [8]. Impoverished and segregated communities have been associated with limited mobility, low levels of trust, and political radicalization (immigrant and anti-immigrant). Local and national government policies play an important role in ameliorating disadvantage and enhancing social mobility.

Superdiversity and culture

Superdiversity extends as well to issues of culture, including religion and language. Superdiversity has important implications for the use of language, especially an official language, and the notion that there are inevitably native speakers and a mother tongue. The plurality of language communities and the diversity of language use affect a range of communal and institutional practices and policies.

For example, in a superdiverse state like California, the question of the use of the Spanish language—such as whether it should be a formal or recognized language of California and what that would mean in practice—has been very divisive, despite the fact that Latinos now constitute a majority-minority in the state. Superdiversity is testing and altering the way in which a language is socialized—in both formal and informal settings—and the normative assumptions about language use. New technologies and online networking are adding to the complexity of the politics of language use.

Religious diversity has also increasingly characterized contemporary migration issues. The September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC, for example, increased anxieties in Western countries about non-Christian religions and the accommodation of newcomers’ religions. A review of religious diversity highlighted the ways in which “Islam has become a symbol of religious and cultural otherness, illiberalism and pre-modernism,” particularly for Europeans and North Americans [9]. As a consequence, large Muslim populations have “become problematic for many people in the West.”

According to this review of religious diversity, the anxiety about religion extends beyond concerns about superdiversity to concerns about the place of religion more broadly in modern liberal democracies [10]. Thus, it reflects not only the particularities of specific countries and communities, but also their historic experiences with immigration. Superdiversity, as well as immigration generally, has become increasingly associated with religious diversity and difference, and has produced new anxieties among communities of immigrant-receiving countries.

Limitations and gaps

The academic study of superdiversity has so far been confined to a limited number of countries, mostly those in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The literature also lacks a firm definition of what constitutes superdiversity in a country or region. One study uses a cultural-ethno-linguistic measure of cultural diversity. But there is a much larger literature on cultural diversity that examines superdiversity in the context of societal processes and outcomes.

Moreover, if ethnicity is used as the defining characteristic of superdiversity, then the way ethnic identity or immigrant status is recorded becomes an important concern. For example, some European countries record children born in the country to immigrant parents as “immigrants,” while countries such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand reserve this definition strictly for those who are foreign-born.

The quality of the data and the way in which ethnicity is recorded not only make country comparisons more difficult, but also make it difficult to establish causality. More countries and cities are becoming superdiverse as global migration flows add to the presence of already established local ethnic minorities. Evidence on the positive benefits of superdiversity is critical to the public debate.

Summary and policy advice

The term “superdiversity” was coined to help explain the implications of the rapid growth in recent decades of immigrant and ethnic minority communities in many regions around the world. Academic researchers and policymakers are interested in understanding the implications of superdiversity for the nature of social interaction and the functioning of core institutions. There is evidence to indicate that the presence of superdiversity is a contributor to open and innovative societies and cities. At the same time, higher levels of diversity pose challenges, especially where the state or host communities expect conformity and immigrant assimilation. How societies ought to approach growing diversity has become a charged and politically sensitive issue.

Policy issues concern the benefits and outcomes of greater diversity: Does diversity contribute positively to economic and social development? What policies are required to successfully settle immigrants? And what is needed to help host communities adjust? The populism of anti-immigrant sentiments does not contribute to reasoned policy debates and often precludes policy options.

In situations of superdiversity, evidence indicates that government policy needs to address the challenges of integration and social cohesion, economic performance, and social mobility. To promote integration and social cohesion, governments can support inclusive intercultural dialogue, adopt anti-discrimination law and policies, support migrant organizations, and address negative attitudes and discrimination that contribute to community tension and exclusion.

Governments can work to enhance economic performance and outcomes for immigrants through credential recognition, transition programs that provide relevant qualifications or work experience, language training, and job search techniques or business start-up support, as well as by encouraging firms to employ migrant job-seekers. Local and national government policies also play an important role in ameliorating disadvantage and enhancing social mobility, which is directly related to economic outcomes and social capital.

Acknowledgments

The author thanks an anonymous referee and the IZA World of Labor editors for many helpful suggestions on earlier drafts. Support from the Max Planck Institute of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and Massey University is gratefully acknowledged.

Competing interests

The IZA World of Labor project is committed to the IZA Guiding Principles of Research Integrity. The author declares to have observed these principles.

© Paul Spoonley

 

https://wol.iza.org/articles/superdiversity-social-cohesion-and-economic-benefits/long

Why is youth unemployment so high and different across countries?

Young people experience worse labor market outcomes than adults worldwide but the difference varies greatly internationally

Elevator pitch

In Germany, young people are no worse off than adults in the labor market, while in southern and eastern European countries, they fare three to four times worse. In Anglo-Saxon countries, both youth and adults fare better than elsewhere, but their unemployment rates fluctuate more over the business cycle. The arrangements developed in each country to help young people gain work experience explain the striking differences in their outcomes. A better understanding of what drives these differences in labor market performance of young workers is essential for policies to be effective

Youth versus adult unemployment rates in
                        OECD countries, 2015

Key findings

Pros

Countries differ dramatically in their ability to generate the work-related competences young people need to succeed in the labor market.

Central European, Anglo-Saxon, and several Asian countries perform better with respect to many youth outcomes.

Recent reforms are reducing cross-country institutional differences; the worst performing countries are learning from the best.

Education systems that integrate more with the labor market, through apprenticeship, job placement services, or direct hiring by firms, seem to setup their youth for success in the labor market.

Cons

In most countries, the ratio of youth to adult unemployment is between two and three; in eastern and southern Europe, young people fare even worse.

Southern and eastern European countries were the hardest hit by the global financial crisis, with youth suffering most.

Temporary work does not solve the youth disadvantage; it helps only the most skilled workers and those in need of general, not job-specific skills.

Author’s main message

In a time of ever increasing educational attainment levels, young people still experience lower employment, income, and participation rates as well as higher unemployment compared to adults. The share of high school and tertiary graduates who accept jobs suited for lower education levels (skills mismatch) is high in many countries. The reason is the low level of work-related competences held by young people. Generating these competences should become a top priority for modern education systems. In addition, labor markets should be more flexible to allow earlier labor market entrance, though they should be wary of becoming over-reliant on the use of temporary contracts.

Motivation

Young people, in nearly every country, experience worse labor market outcomes than adults. However, there are striking differences across countries, with some performing much better than others. The reason behind the worldwide youth disadvantage can be traced back to their lower than average human capital. This may be because some youth drop out of school before achieving at least compulsory education, or because when they do achieve a high secondary or tertiary education level, they miss other key components of human capital, namely general and job-specific work experience. General competences can be acquired through any type of (even short) work experience. However, job-specific competences can be acquired and used only in specific jobs and require long periods of time to accumulate, say several years, depending on the actual professional content of the job. This low level of human capital among young people correlates with, among other things, jobs mismatch, which is the difference between the competences supplied by young people and those that firms require from them.

Discussion of pros and cons

Youth face a variety of challenges in different countries’ labor markets. In which countries do young people perform relatively better or worse in the labor market? Answering this question can provide important insights into the factors that lead to the success or failure of a country’s school-to-work transition (SWT) system. SWT regimes comprise all institutions that impact the education-to-work transition, including the education and training system, labor market regulations, the organization of the welfare state, and family structures. All these factors can have important implications for labor market outcomes of young people. A noteworthy study defines a transition system as “the relatively enduring features of a country’s institutional and structural arrangements which shape transition processes and outcomes” [1].

The youth disadvantage in a given labor market can be assessed using different indicators. The most common is the unemployment rate, namely the share of the workforce that is actively seeking work. Nonetheless, especially in the case of young people, the unemployment rate tells only part of the story. An alternative is to look at the ratio of youth to adult unemployment rates. The former is affected more by the fluctuations of the business cycle than the latter, which more closely mirrors a country’s institutional characteristics and the functionality of its SWT system. OECD countries tend to cluster around similar values of the youth and adult unemployment rates and, hence, also the ratio of the two. The evolution over time of these rates is likewise similar within given groups of countries. Such evolutions are mostly independent of economic conditions and compositional differences in young people’s educational and social backgrounds [2]. This suggests that several countries belong to the same SWT regime.

Following a study from 2015, at least five different SWT regimes can be identified [3]: (i) the north European or Scandinavian model (Finland, Norway, and Sweden); (ii) the continental European model (Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, as well as—in some opinions—Belgium and Denmark); (iii) the Anglo-Saxon model (the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand); (iv) the south European model (Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain); and (v) that of former socialist countries, which include the new EU member states. These SWT regimes overlap with the identification of welfare state regimes—social democratic, conservative, liberal—with the addition of the so-called Latin Rim (southern European countries) [4], and former socialist countries.

Other indicators, such as the employment rate, the rate of inactivity, and the not in education, employment, or training (NEET) rate, are also useful to catch specific aspects of young people’s labor market behavior, but the first two mentioned—the youth unemployment rate and the ratio of the youth to the adult unemployment rate—are the most commonly used.

As shown in the Illustration, young people experience a disadvantage compared to adults in every OECD country. In most countries, the youth unemployment rate is two to three times larger than for adults. Germany and Japan are the only two countries in which young people have nearly the same risk of unemployment as adults. These two countries have experienced the lowest relative disadvantage of young to adult people in their labor markets for decades [3]. In Anglo-Saxon countries (the US, the UK, and Australia, among others), both youth and adults have a relatively low unemployment rate, though the youth rate still exceeds that of adults.

More generally, there is considerable cross-country variation when it comes to youth’s labor market success. For instance, many central European countries (especially Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), Anglo-Saxon ones, and some Asian countries (especially Japan) have lower youth unemployment and inactivity rates, and higher employment rates and earnings than the rest of the EU—especially southern and eastern Europe as well as, to a lesser extent, the Scandinavian countries. This comparison also holds true for a number of Latin American, Central Asian, and African countries.

Important differences have emerged in terms of how young people in different countries have faced the recent global financial crisis. Figure 1 compares groups of countries with similar SWT institutions from 2000 to 2015. The two panels show the youth unemployment rate and the ratio of youth to adult unemployment rates, respectively. The youth unemployment rate (shown in Panel A) has increased during this period in each group of countries. The 2007 financial crisis had a particularly strong impact in the Anglo-Saxon, eastern European, and, above all, the southern European countries. The reason for this vulnerability is probably the greater degree of labor market flexibility in these groups of countries. It should be noted that labor flexibility impacts the entire workforce in Anglo-Saxon countries, but only new hires in the eastern and southern European countries. In these latter two groups, labor flexibility has been achieved only recently through the so-called two-tier reforms, which generally only affect new entrants into the labor market, without changing the contracts of the majority of the existing workforce. These reforms essentially make it more convenient for firms to hire workers on temporary contracts. Temporary contracts, in turn, are the first to be discontinued during economic crises, simply because the easiest way for management to reduce staff numbers is by not renewing temporary contracts upon their natural expiration date. Thanks to this marked increase in temporary contracts, firms find it much easier to apply the so-called last in, first out (LIFO) principle, usually at the expense of young people in particular. According to this principle, when necessary, managers tend to fire the most recently hired workers first, which reduces both the loss of human capital for the firm as well as the overall social cost to society, since the youngest workforce is the easiest to relocate and is often unmarried and/or has no children. Nonetheless, the post-crisis recovery is well underway in the Anglo-Saxon and eastern European countries, whereas youth unemployment remains extremely high in southern European countries. A persistent slow growth has played a significant role in keeping youth unemployment high in this last group of countries.

Youth unemployment rate and the ratio of
                        youth to adult unemployment rates

Figure 1, Panel B looks at the ratio of youth to adult unemployment rates. Each group, with the exception of the southern European countries, saw an increase in this ratio in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The reason that the ratio in southern European countries does not appear to have been affected is because the crisis has been so deep and prolonged in that region that it has also impacted the adults to a much larger extent than elsewhere; indeed, the fact that adults have been affected so significantly is often seen as an indicator of the depth of the crisis in these countries [5]. By 2015, the Anglo-Saxon countries had returned to their pre-crisis ratio levels or even below. This is likely related to the fact that both firing and hiring are easier than in the other country groups.

Another typical aspect of youth behavior is that they tend to seek jobs in a haphazard and discontinuous way. They are particularly affected by news about the labor market outlook and tend to get more easily discouraged than other demographic groups when the average unemployment rate is high. Since many young people are not actively seeking work, they tend to be classified more often as inactive rather than unemployed, but, in fact, they are still seeking a job. To take this behavior into account, many observers suggest looking at youth’s inactivity rate as well as their unemployment rate.

In addition to these two metrics, the NEET rate offers another statistical indicator that is able to account for young people’s tendency to be discouraged in their job search. NEET accounts for the tendency of young people to move more frequently between different labor market statuses, including education and training. Being in education and/or training should not be considered as a negative state for young people, since their main aim should be to build their own human capital. Moreover, in recent times, young people are increasingly involved in insecure, very-short-term labor market experiences, especially in those countries where labor flexibility has been achieved by liberalizing temporary work arrangements. In fact, in most countries, but especially in southern and eastern Europe, many young people are hired on short fixed-term contracts. This trend has led to calls for labor market reforms aimed at introducing a single type of permanent labor contract, which would entail less employment protection and lower litigation costs, and be achieved through the definition of pre-defined severance pay as well as lower fiscal and social security costs than are currently associated with fixed-term contracts [6]. The Italian Jobs Act of 2015 is one reform that moves in this direction.

Last, but not least, another commonly observed fact is that youth labor markets around the world are segmented. Some young people, especially those coming from rich families, tend to experience a smooth SWT. They achieve the highest educational level they wish and soon after find the jobs best suited for them. On the other hand, there are segments of young people who remain at a constant disadvantage in the labor market. This primarily includes low-educated young people, especially those without compulsory educational attainment and those who come from a poor background.

Seeking explanations for the youth disadvantage

Why do young people experience a disadvantage in the labor market? A mix of factors should be considered when attempting to answer this question. First and foremost among these is the lack of sufficient economic growth in many countries. The youth disadvantage is strongly and inversely affected by the business cycle: when an economy is expanding, its youth unemployment rate decreases more than the average, while it increases more than average when an economy is contracting. A study from 2012 supports this, by showing that the youth unemployment rate is particularly sensitive to economic and financial crises [7].

A mix of factors explain this counter-cyclical nature. First, the aforementioned LIFO principle plays a role, as it disproportionately impacts young workers. Second, the LIFO principle is amplified by policies that reduce the cost of firing, either for all workers, as in the Anglo-Saxon countries, or primarily for young workers, as is the case in countries that have implemented two-tier reforms that only apply to the new hires, such as most south and east European countries. If the majority of new hires are made through temporary contracts, it is easy to discontinue such contracts by simply not renewing them. This leads to a situation in which many youth cycle rapidly in and out of employment.

In addition to macroeconomic factors, one should consider more structural factors. In fact, differences in the youth disadvantage across countries are stubbornly persistent, and this is typically explained by different institutional settings. Structural factors are directly affected by the way in which SWT systems are organized and, indirectly, depend on policies regarding the education system and employment protection legislation. These institutions affect the length and degree of smoothness of youth’s SWT, and are so important in terms of labor market outcomes because they affect the main difference between youth and adults, namely the lack of two of the three main components of human capital: general and job-related competences. Human capital is not only based on education, but also on these components, which generate what has been called the “experience gap of young people” [3].

This gap is the main reason firms prefer adults to young people. Therefore, the gap generates what is sometimes called the “experience trap”: firms need not only general competences in their employees, which are gained through education, but also work-related competences and skills, which can be gained only through work experience. While general competences and work experience are gained quite quickly in any type of job and are easily transferred to any other type of job, job-specific competences and specific work experience can only be gained and used in the specific job for which they apply. Moreover, these specific traits require a long period of time to acquire. Examples of general competences acquired through any kind of work experience (e.g. a short time working at a fast-food restaurant) are: timeliness, ability to deal with the fact that in any organization there is a hierarchical and social division of labor, ability to deal with customers, and ability to use a word processing program. Examples of job-specific work experience are: teaching pupils for a teacher or professor, preparing a summons for a barrister, or preparing a tax return for a financial advisor.

Both general and job-related competences are subject to market failure. One study dating from the 1960s showed that it is not convenient for firms to provide general training because the competences acquired can be easily transferred to a competitor when workers change jobs [8]. Consequently, firms will tend to transfer the cost of training to workers via lower wages, unless the state offers financial or practical training support.

Likewise, job-specific competences tend to generate market failures and thereby require intervention from the state to be fully developed. As these competences are acquired through long periods of work experience, job-specific training is unlikely to be provided to workers on temporary contracts. Neither workers nor firms have sufficient incentives to invest in this form of training when contracts are temporary. It is therefore not uncommon that workers wishing to start a liberal profession, for instance, will find it hard to receive the necessary training from firms. One way to overcome this problem is by means of long-term contracts and wage structures that increase with job tenure to make workers more faithful to their employer [9].

Temporary work can be a tool to provide general but not firm-specific human capital. Due to their lower cost to firms, temporary contracts could incentivize them to provide on-the-job training to build general human capital, because workers will pay the cost of training via lower than market wages. Conversely, employers will be willing to provide on-the-job training to build firm-specific human capital in employees under the condition that the employee remains at the firm long enough to fully return the firm’s investment. Toward this end, firms tend to offer increasing wages to their employees for the exact purpose of incentivizing them to remain with the firm for this sufficiently long period of time.

Lower wage costs, which are attached to fixed-term (temporary) contracts, might be sufficient to allow young people to acquire the training that they need to overcome their gap in general, but not their gap in job-specific human capital. In other words, while temporary contracts may incentivize employers to hire young people, thereby imparting them with general skills, these arrangements will not lead to the development of job-specific competences. This is because firms worry that they will not benefit from the returns to job-specific competences that young workers would acquire if given job-specific training while under temporary contracts.

Differences in school-to-work transition regimes

The state plays a critical role in helping young people acquire all three of the key components of human capital. However, the way in which such help is provided differs dramatically across countries and the mix of institutions involved is highly complex; hence, it is important to identify different regimes or models used in different countries.

SWT systems differ on whether it is the mission of the education system itself to provide work-related competences (as in dual education systems) or whether young people are expected to acquire these competences after completing their education (as in sequential education systems) [5].

With their flexible labor markets, Anglo-Saxon countries provide the best example of sequential education systems, in which young people are able to acquire their work-related competences directly through work. If the labor market is sufficiently flexible, young people are able to move from one job to the next in a relatively quick and easy way, which allows them to gain a variety of work-related competences fairly quickly. To understand the importance of labor flexibility to reduce the experience gap of young people, consider a simple example. In the US, the annual job finding rate is above 60%, which means that 60 out of every 100 unemployed people find a job within the year, and, hence, if chances are equally distributed among unemployed individuals, every unemployed person has, on average, a chance to find a job in less than two years, which is a relatively short period of time.

Another important feature of Anglo-Saxon countries is their aversion to nationwide wage-setting mechanisms. Such practices tend to equalize wages across age groups, forcing firms to pay equal wages for different human capital and skill levels. In the absence of these nationwide policies, the ability to pay lower entry wages for young people incentivizes firms to hire them.

With its apprenticeship system involving about 60% of any young cohort, Germany is the best example of a dual education system. In Germany, the majority of young people acquire work-related competences during school, through their apprenticeship contract. Professional universities are also provided for graduates from the apprenticeship system. The main limitations of the German approach are to be found in the excessively specific knowledge of workers, which could be an obstacle in periods of dramatic structural change. Additionally, students are subject to early tracking, in which they are obliged to choose at the age of ten between going to a Gymnasium (a type of school with a strong emphasis on academic learning, which qualifies students for university) or other school types (which would qualify students for an apprenticeship). At this age, individuals have not fully developed their individual preferences; therefore adults usually make the choice instead [10].

Other types of SWT systems are more cumbersome (e.g. the Scandinavian model) or disorganized (e.g. the southern European model) in how they build work-related competences. Scandinavian countries include only small aspects of the dual principle in work-related learning at school in combination with rigid labor markets. These countries tend to help young people gain work-related competences by means of active labor market policies, implemented on a large scale and provided to everybody who has not found a job within four months of the beginning of their unemployment spell or completion of education. This is called the Youth Guarantee and has been recently extended by the EU to all EU countries.

Last, but not least, the southern European SWT, which is similar to that found in many Latin countries all over the world, also tends to include some aspects of the dual principle and quite rigid labor markets. For example, in Italy, in the early 1990s before the recent labor reforms, the job finding rate was only about 13%, which means that 13 out of 100 unemployed job seekers found a job within a year of their unemployment spell’s start. This meant that, on average, an unemployment spell was likely to last just less than eight years, which is obviously a very long duration. Only after the recent reforms (started in the late 1990s and still ongoing) has the job finding rate increased to about 30%, but this only applies to new hires. Only since the start of the 2010s have educational reforms introduced work-related learning into students’ curricula and the state adopted some proactive labor market measures similar to those found in the central European and Scandinavian systems.

Limitations and gaps

The most important limitation in the context of youth labor market performance is the tendency of labor economists to overrate the importance of labor markets and employment protection legislation. Labor flexibility and labor market institutions more generally are only some of the factors that affect the development of human capital among youth. Another important factor, which has only recently been understood as crucial, is the role of educational policy and well-designed educational reforms.

Additionally, the strong emphasis on economic growth, which is typical of the Keynesian approach, is often exaggerated by economists. Of course, economic growth is an obvious pre-condition to increase employment, especially among young people, but some aspects of the youth-specific challenges are independent of the business cycle and the degree of labor market flexibility. Instead, they depend on the way in which SWT systems are structured and, in particular, on the way education systems are built.

More information should be collected on how the structure of an education system affects youth labor market issues, rather than the current focus on the role of employment protection legislation. How much do countries spend on education? How interlinked are education systems with the labor market? How flexible are education systems and how many limitations are imposed on young people preventing them from fully developing their talent? All these questions should be addressed to get a better understanding about the mechanisms and reasons for differences in youth unemployment.

Summary and policy advice

Young people are the most affected by adverse economic conditions. One of the main reasons for this is that firms prefer to fire the most recently hired workers when layoffs are called for. They do this for both social and economic reasons: young people have fewer family commitments, which allows them to transition into new work situations more easily, and they possess less firm-specific human capital, thereby minimizing the firm’s losses when laying off employees.

Structural and institutional factors also matter. Young people are becoming ever more educated around the world, but they still have lower human capital than adults because they lack work-related competences. These competences can only be acquired on the job, through general and job-specific work experience. This experience gap generates an experience trap as employers search for employees who already possess competences, but young people need work experience to acquire them.

SWT regimes differ across countries in how they address this youth human capital gap. Anglo-Saxon countries utilize high-quality education and flexible labor markets. Central European countries, especially Germany, employ the dual principle of education (apprenticeship). Scandinavian countries have a sequential education system like the Anglo-Saxon countries, but rigid labor markets; they prevent long-term unemployment by providing proactive schemes on a large scale. Meanwhile, eastern and southern European countries are still trying to reform their institutions to come in line with these other systems.

In sum, if the youth disadvantage indeed depends on a human capital gap, then it is not by chance that the countries with the lowest youth disadvantage have education systems that are more integrated with the labor market and a modern system of “flexicurity” at work. Flexicurity means not only flexibility, but also labor security, which implies that if not job stability, then at least employment and income stability should be provided by means of passive income support, while proactive training schemes increase employability. From the point of view of young people, it should now be clear that a well-designed education system is important to have efficient flexicurity. While each country must address their own unique challenges, these features do appear key in providing youth with the tools they need to succeed in the labor market.

Acknowledgments

The author thanks two anonymous referees and the IZA World of Labor editors for many helpful suggestions on earlier drafts. Previous work of the author contains a larger number of background references for the material presented here and has been used intensively in all major parts of this article [3]. The author has received no financial, material, or personal source of support for his research.

Competing interests

The IZA World of Labor project is committed to the IZA Guiding Principles of Research Integrity. The author declares to have observed these principles.

© Francesco Pastore

Pastore, F. Why is youth unemployment so high and different across countries?. IZA World of Labor 2018: 420 doi: 10.15185/izawol.420

https://wol.iza.org/articles/why-is-youth-unemployment-so-high-and-different-across-countries/long

Trabajo infantil, una problemática social

Por: Francisco Escobar 

El trabajo infantil continúa como una problemática que Guatemala no ha podido enfrentar a lo largo de varias décadas,  más bien,  es una situación que se ha agravado año con año.

El Departamento de Trabajo de Estados Unidos, reconoce a Guatemala como uno de los 8 países de América Latina y el Caribe,  que presentan avances poco  significativos en la lucha contra el Trabajo Infantil, dentro de los 26 países analizados en la región y otros 130 países a nivel mundial.

El término trabajo infantil,  se define como todo trabajo que priva a los niños de su niñez, su potencial y su dignidad, en ocasiones perjudica su desarrollo físico y psicológico, interfiere con su escolarización, al privarles de la posibilidad de asistir a clases. En muchos casos, son niños y niñas, a quienes se les obliga a abandonar los estudios, de forma prematura o en algunos casos,  les exigen combinar ambas actividades, el estudio con un trabajo pesado, lo que puede consumir gran cantidad de su tiempo.

El director general de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT)  Guy Ryder, advirtió que todavía existen 152 millones de niños y niñas, víctimas del trabajo infantil, e hizo un llamado a la comunidad internacional para trabajar de manera conjunta y lograr su total erradicación, de aquí al 2025. ‘Todavía hay 152 millones de niños y niñas víctimas del trabajo infantil, es decir, casi 1 de cada 10, en el mundo. De ellos, casi la mitad realiza trabajos peligrosos. Es preciso reconocer  que el progreso alcanzado es muy desigual’, señaló el ejecutivo de la OIT.

En el discurso de apertura de la Cuarta Conferencia Mundial sobre la Erradicación Sostenida del Trabajo Infantil, celebrada en Buenos Aires, Argentina, en noviembre del año pasado, Ryder, reconoció los avances alcanzados sobre el tema en los últimos 20 años, pero advirtió que, aún queda mucho camino por recorrer para acabar con esta problemática. Según las últimas estimaciones de la OIT, hay aproximadamente 25 millones de personas, a nivel mundial, que son víctimas del trabajo forzoso.

En Guatemala,  la Comisión Nacional para la Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil, (Conapeti),  es la entidad encargada de coordinar e implementar la hoja de ruta para hacer de Guatemala un país libre de Trabajo Infantil. Esta constituye en una estrategia nacional, donde participan diferentes instituciones, públicas, privadas y de cooperación internacional.

Uno de los participantes principales es el Ministerio de Trabajo y Previsión Social de Guatemala (Mintrab), el cual asumió el compromiso de dar seguimiento a dicha estrategia, para el período 2016-2020. Es una herramienta que permitirá alcanzar los objetivos a largo plazo, todo en el marco de coordinación interinstitucional  con las distintas entidades del Estado relacionadas con el tema, para lograr los resultados propuestos y lograr erradicar el trabajo infantil, en el país.

La Conapeti, es presidida por el vicepresidente de la República, Jafeth Cabrera, quien en caso de ausencia puede ceder el mandato al titular del Ministerio de Trabajo y Previsión Social, en este caso Leticia Teleguario.

Otras entidades participantes son el Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Alimentación (MAGA),  Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Ministerio de Desarrollo Social (MIDES),  Ministerio de Gobernación (Mingob), Secretaría de Bienestar Social de la Presidencia de la República,  Secretaria Presidencial de la Mujer, Secretaria de Coordinación Ejecutiva de la Presidencia,  Secretaria contra la Violencia Sexual, Explotación y Trata de Personas, Secretaria de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional de la Presidencia de la República, director general del Consejo Nacional de la Juventud (CONJUVE), presidente de la Asociación Nacional de Municipalidades, presidente de la Junta Directiva del Instituto Guatemalteco de Seguridad Social, entre muchas más que velan por el cumplimiento de este documento.

El Mintrab, dentro de sus acciones en la estrategia  mencionada, realizó en el último año, 5 mil 734 visitas de inspección a empresas a nivel nacional, en la búsqueda del rescate de niños trabajadores. Actividades que se realizan para prevenir sobre el trabajo infantil, dichas revisiones estuvieron a cargo de la Inspección General de Trabajo (IGT). El resultado consistió en el rescate de 99 personas entre menores y adolescentes trabajadores, de quienes 28, eran víctimas de las peores formas de trabajo infantil.

La Encuesta Nacional de Condiciones de Vida (Encovi), que se realizó en el año 2016, con el apoyo de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT),  detectó que  Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Zacapa, Petén y Jalapa, fueron identificados como  los departamentos con mayores índices de niñez en condiciones de trabajo infantil.

De la población en condiciones de trabajo, aproximadamente el 50% se dedica a la agricultura o a actividades relacionadas a esta, por ello, se le identifica como un fenómeno que afecta principalmente a la niñez del área rural del país. Se le identifica a esta población, en situación de riesgo, porque amenaza su proceso de crecimiento, su educación y su desarrollo óptimo a futuro.

En un informe, publicado por el Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (Icefi), indica que en la actualidad, cerca de 7 millones de niños, niñas y adolescentes habitan en Guatemala, cantidad que nos convierte en el país con mayor cantidad de población en este rango de edades. Además, representa el 37% de la población total centroamericana de niños, niñas y adolescentes.

Por su parte el  director de la Oficina de Derechos Humanos del Arzobispado de Guatemala (ODHAG), Nery Rodenas, se refiere como  indignantes las condiciones de vida de la niñez en el territorio nacional, azotada por la desnutrición, la violencia y la marginación, sin que exista una política pública  que garantice su desarrollo adecuado. ‘Los niños y adolescentes guatemaltecos sobreviven en una situación de desigualdad y exclusión, que además los somete a violencia física y estructural’, opinó Rodenas.

Por aparte, agregó el director de la ODHAG, en su mayoría, esta población debe laborar para ayudar a sus familias, por la extrema pobreza en que viven y, es a partir de lo cual muchos de ellos,  son víctimas de explotación y de trata de personas.

Según la experta y representante adjunta de UNICEF en Guatemala, Mariko Kagoshima, ‘el trabajo es una de las principales barreras a la lactancia materna y contribuye a la decisión de las madres de abandonar esta práctica en un tiempo temprano’.

La UNICEF, informó sobre la existencia de estudios sobre lactancia materna, los cuales evidencian que,  intervenciones como la licencia de maternidad y el apoyo en el lugar de trabajo, aumentaron en más de un 30%  las tasas de lactancia materna.  Además la misma entidad argumenta que la pobreza es la principal causa de trabajo infantil y en otros estudios también indican que  existe un ciclo vicioso entre ambas problemáticas.  Pero se reconoce en todo análisis sobre el tema, que los niños involucrados en el trabajo infantil, realizan tareas ya sea para pagar sus estudios en escuelas u otro tipo de gastos o porque su familia necesita beneficiarse de lo remunerado por el menor.

El número de niños y jóvenes que se dedican al trabajo infantil ha ido en crecimiento, tanto en Guatemala como a nivel latinoamericano, según lo reflejan las informaciones proporcionadas por el sitio Notiamérica. En dicho portal, destaca que en Guatemala, hacia el 2016, había 850 mil menores  en labores remuneradas y el 70% de ellos, habitan en áreas rurales, y el 60% es indígena. El trabajo de estos menores se concentra en actividades agrícolas, ayudantes de buses o ventas informales.

EN LATINO AMÉRICA

Según la OIT, en México en el 2013, habían aproximadamente 2.5 millones de niños, niñas y adolescentes ocupados en sectores agropecuario, comercial y de servicios, de los cuales el 46% de ellos no les remuneraban, según lo acordado por las personas que los contrataban. En Perú, el 70% de niños empleados,  comprenden las edades entre 5 a 17 años, quienes laboran en trabajos peligrosos, tales como los relacionados a la industria artesanal minera. Esta labor absorbe aproximadamente el trabajo de 500 mil niños y niñas, agrega la OIT.

En Colombia, se registran, 1 millón 91 mil menores de edad, sometidos al trabajo infantil, según registros del Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística (DANE). De esta cantidad casi el 50% son niños sin remuneración y  285 mil son asalariados por realizar trabajos domésticos. 

CIFRAS A NIVEL MUNDIAL 

En todo el mundo, 218 millones de niños de entre 5 y 17 años están ocupados en la producción económica.

Entre ellos, 152 millones son víctimas del trabajo infantil; casi la mitad, o sea equivalente a 73 millones, están en situación de riesgo y peligro.

72 millones se concentran en África, 62 millones en Asia; 10.7 millones en toda América; 1.1 millones en los Estados árabes; y  5.5 millones en Europa y Asia Central.

Casi la mitad de los 152 millones de niños víctimas del trabajo infantil tienen entre 5 y 11 años; 42 millones (28%) tienen entre 12 y 14 años; y 37 millones (24%), entre 15 y 17 años.

88 millones son varones y 64 millones son niñas.

El trabajo de menores, se concentra en actividades como la agricultura (71%), que incluye  la pesca, la silvicultura, la ganadería y la acuicultura. 17%  trabajan en el sector de servicios y el 12% en el sector industrial, principalmente, la minería.

Fuente: Estimación mundial sobre el trabajo infantil: Resultados y tendencias, 2012-2016, Ginebra, septiembre de 2017. OIT

http://s21.gt/2018/01/03/trabajo-infantil-una-problematica-social/

La receta equivocada contra el desempleo

En Costa Rica un proyecto de ley pretende obligar a las empresas a que el 25% de sus contrataciones en planilla sea de jóvenes con edades entre 17 y 24 años.

EDITORIAL

El problema de desempleo que afecta a miles de jóvenes en Costa Rica y en los países centroamericanos no se resuelve simplemente obligando a las empresas privadas a contratar determinada proporción de empleados jóvenes, sin importar sus calificaciones y habilidades, o peor aún, sin considerar si existe o no la necesidad real de contratación.

Un proyecto de ley en Costa Rica refleja la miopía con que el sector público visualiza un problema tan grave como el desempleo juvenil. En su limitada visión de la realidad económica del país, los diputados proponen resolver el problema con una ley que obligaría a las empresas a dar una hora libre por día para capacitación y a que el 25% de sus contrataciones en planilla esté conformada por empleados con edades entre 17 y 24 años,

Como bien señalan los industriales costarricenses, la solución al desempleo juvenil está en la implementación del modelo de educación dual, y no en una ley que lo único que hará es elevar los costos de producción del sector privado, y continuar deteriorando la ya delicada competitividad del país.

Ver “Educación dual: Sí se puede

Contra el desempleo juvenil probemos con educación dual

Aprendiendo en el trabajo: Educación dual

Del comunicado de la Cámara de Industrias:

CICR se opone a mal llamado proyecto de “Estímulo de EmpleoJoven”

  • Industriales señalan que proyecto de ley no soluciona el problema de empleo para los jóvenes.
  • Las dos preocupaciones principales son: la obligación que se impondría a las empresas de que un 25% de las contrataciones en planilla sea de personas entre 17 y 24 años de edad; y la obligación de otorgar una hora al día para capacitación. 

Martes 7 de noviembre de 2017. La Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica manifestó su oposición al Proyecto de Ley No. 20.282 mal llamado de “Estímulo al Empleo Joven”. Su opinión fue manifestada formalmente a la Comisión Permanente Especial de Juventud, Niñez y Adolescencia de la Asamblea Legislativa, que realizó una consulta a la Cámara.
Enrique Egloff, Presidente de la CICR, señaló que incentivar el empleo en los jóvenes es una muy buena intención pero explicó que el proyecto de ley se encuentra muy mal planteado. “Aunque el objetivo del proyecto es muy loable, ya que toma en cuenta que el estudio no sea obstáculo para la inserción laboral de los jóvenes, su conceptualización no es la correcta”, mencionó Egloff.

“El desempleo se soluciona con más competitividad para más producción y crecimiento de las empresas. Mediante el establecimiento de porcentajes de edades en la planilla y el otorgamiento de la hora diaria de permiso para estudiar, no se soluciona el problema el desempleo en los jóvenes”, agregó Egloff.

La principal oposición al proyecto de ley es porque obliga a las empresas a contratar al menos un 25% de personas entre 17 y 24 años en la planilla. “El problema del empleo para los jóvenes no se resuelve obligando a las empresas a un determinado porcentaje. La verdadera solución se encuentra en la aprobación del Proyecto de Ley de Educación Dual propuesto por el sector productivo desde hace varios años. El principal problema que tenemos es que ni siquiera se está discutiendo la educación dual en el país.”, añadió Egloff.

La CICR explicó que la estimulación a la creación del empleo joven debe estar enfocada en la generación de experiencia profesional. En la carta que los industriales enviaron a la Comisión Permanente Especial de Juventud, Niñez y Adolescencia, explicaron que la experiencia del estudiante se soluciona haciéndolo partícipe de una etapa de capacitación que además le sirve para darse a conocer en la empresa y por ende en el mercado laboral.

La Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica ha señalado que la generación de empleo es uno de los principales problemas del país y he indicado reiteradamente que una de las grandes deudas de la Asamblea Legislativa es la no discusión ni aprobación del Proyecto de Ley de Formación Dual.

Otra de las razones por las que la CICR se opone a la aprobación Proyecto de Ley No. 20.282 “Estímulo al Empleo Joven” es la obligación que contiene de dar una hora libre a los estudiantes para que estudie.

La CICR explicó que la idea de dar una hora diaria libre al estudiante para que estudie es contraproducente desde el punto de vista de costo, competitividad y productividad de empresa, tomando en cuenta que si debe mantenerse un 25% de su planilla en ese rango de edades, sería un 25% del personal con una hora diaria de permiso.

“Las empresas costarricenses ya tienen altos costos operativos y no podemos sumar uno más”, manifestó Egloff.

La CICR aprovechó la oportunidad para solicitar a la Comisión el respaldo al proyecto de ley sobre Educación Dual, con informe de mayoría favorable ya emitido, para que nuestros jóvenes se puedan capacitar de una manera más profesional, favoreciendo a las partes involucradas, tanto empresas como colaboradores, y al país en general.

https://www.centralamericadata.com/es/article/main/La_receta_equivocada_contra_el_desempleo

Youth Employment in Latin America

A look at the plight of young people seeking — or not seeking — employment in Latin American countries. #MakeoverMonday #VizForSocialGood

 

https://public.tableau.com/profile/mikevizneros#!/vizhome/MakeoverMondayWeek20-English/YouthEmploymentinLatinAmerica