The OECD has encouraged Japan to take advantage of an uptake in open jobs to better work prospects for its young people. The country, despite having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world, has an aging population and shrinking labor force.
The OECD, which works to improve social policy and mobility around the world, stressed the importance of addressing these trends by engaging and investing in young people for the future. Their work includes 35 countries as members and has been undertaken since their founding in 1961.
Around 1.7 million of the Japanese youth are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Across four years, at least a quarter of Japanese people aged between 20 and 30 will be NEET at least once. These troubles were charted down to three main issues faced by young people in Japan.
OECD pointed out that many are at a point of social withdrawal, referred to in the country as “hikikomori.” This occurs when young people have few close relationships outside of their family and as a result they don’t engage with many opportunities that come their way due to a large level of disconnectedness.
In addition, less than 6 percent of school leavers do not come out with an upper-secondary degree, drastically lowering the number of careers available.
There are also many cases where mothers take time out of work to look after their children, particularly when they are in their late twenties.
Methods to improve work prospects included upgrading employment and social support, increasing the number of practical training programmes offered as well as delivering more work-based training within schools to get young people prepared for the workplace.
The OECD also suggested engaging with young people who possess an entrepreneurial spirit, providing further encouragement to build businesses, in turn creating more jobs around their local areas. Taking these will allow Japan to follow through on its current “excellent” academic outcomes.