Main content

International Youth Day 2020

To get ready for the changing world of work, the voice of youth needs to be heard now to make concrete proposals, action plans and policies. As a starting point, during International Youth Day 2020, young people and decision makers will enter into dialogue in webinars, on TV, radio and on social media to map out the issues they see around the future of work.

All around the globe, the rapid changes in our technological, climate and political realities have reshaped the world of work, while the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates the change process. Rural youth are facing unprecedented challenges. Yet we have the power to transform these challenges into opportunities.

Commissioned by Oxfam’s Empower Youth for Work program, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) conducted a research on ‘The Future of Work’ to explore the expected changes in work and income-generating activities for rural young people in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Pakistan. The research also looked into whether existing policies have anticipated the changes in the future of work.

The future of work and income opportunities for rural young people will be shaped by the trends of technological change, demographic change, environmental pressures and shifting power. For example, access to internet is determining whether or not someone could proceed with their education, have access to information and to certain jobs. Without connectivity, inequality is increasing.


In the meantime, the COVID-19 crisis has turned from a global health crisis into a severe economic crisis, resulting in acceleration of the effects on various aspects of the trends, imposing great threats to the livelihood of rural youth and women.

However, facing with these challenges, the policies in the EYW countries only anticipate the future of work in a limited way, with worrying little attention to technological and environmental change. Leaving youth in a vulnerable position: Youth are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults (IFAD 2019). Irregular work and a lack of formal employment and social protection leads to working poverty (i.e. where people live below the poverty line despite being in work).

If these changes and trends are not properly addressed, it will increase the inequalities and poverty rural young women and men already face today. We need to get ready for the future of work and take actions now! To make the right interventions in this changing world of work, the voice of youth needs to be heard now to make concrete proposals, action plans and policies.

The full report The Future of Work 

  • International Youth Day in Indonesia

    In Indonesia, young people, government and CSO representatives marked International Youth Day with online working groups and a communication forum on the Future of Work, to explore the employment challenges youth face, the support they need and the opportunities available to them. Young entrepreneurs emphasized the importance of cooperation between youth, businesses and governments to create jobs that are fit for the future. They shared valuable lessons with one another, and clearly demonstrated why decision makers need to listen to young people. Read more

    Photo credit: Zulfikar Arief/Oxfam in Indonesia

  • Bangladesh

    Young people involved in EYW met virtually to discuss the Future of Work research findings, their perspectives on the four ‘megatrends’ and their expectations for future employment. Guest speakers from the government talked about the support on offer and entrepreneurs shared their experiences, offered practical advice and answered young people’s questions. Youth also organized a range of other events to celebrate International Youth Day – including a tree planting ceremony and a radio show – with the aim of connecting young people from various parts of the country and encouraging them to unite to face the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, youth activists from Bangladesh joined the Asian Regional Youth Dialogue Session on Youth Engagement Plan to explore how Oxfam can better partner with youth movements give young people a leading role in its work. Read more  

    Photo credit: Tonmoy Das

  • International Youth Day in Ethiopia

    In Ethiopia, International Youth Day was celebrated with the planting of 1,000 trees in Kebribayah and Wajale, attracting the support of government officials and the wider communities. A panel on the future of youth employment in rural and semi-urban areas discussion gave young people this opportunity to talk directly to policy makers, voice their concerns about the future of work and identify solutions together. More than 40 different stakeholders and young people took part in the event, which was also filmed and shared with wider audience online. Read more

     Photo credit: Geleta Kedir/Oxfam Ethiopia

  • International Youth Day in Pakistan

    Technological advancements, the rapid pace of climate change, shrinking civic space and the fallout from the Covid-19 crisis are combining to create an extremely uncertain future for the young people of Pakistan, particularly in terms of the labor market. For International Youth Day 2020, EYW in Pakistan organized training to help young people prepare for this uncertain future by thinking outside the box and learning to cope with rapidly changing scenarios. Read more

    Photo credit: RDF