Global Leaders Seek Solutions to Youth Joblessness at World Economic Forum

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Solving the unemployment crisis—particularly for the world’s young people—was a key topic of discussion at the 2013 World Economic Forum, as government, business, and civil society leaders came together to discuss how to jumpstart the global economy. At a time when more than 75 million young people can’t find jobs, and countless more are underemployed, investing in opportunities for youth has become not only a critical development issue but also a growth strategy for businesses around the world. In response to this challenge, Hilton Worldwide used the Davos gathering to announce the release of a commissioned white paper from the International Youth Foundation (IYF) that highlights solutions to youth joblessness that the global hospitality sector is uniquely positioned to provide. The company also announced the launch of Bright Blue Futures, its global commitment to youth development around the world.

The white paper, Creating Opportunities for Youth in Hospitality, spotlights the economic and social struggles facing the world’s youth and the key issues that need to be addressed to solve those challenges. Leveraging insights gained through its partnership with Hilton Worldwide, IYF also presents the hospitality industry with a roadmap for action that focuses on creating career pathways for this emerging workforce while also meeting critical industry-wide hiring needs.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to prevent a lost generation of young people by helping them acquire the life skills and job training they need to be successful in the workplace and beyond,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide. “As a global citizen and a leader in one of the largest industries in the world, we have a business imperative and responsibility to develop solutions that preserve our collective futures.”

According to IYF, there are few industries whose resources, expertise and career pathways are as relevant to addressing the challenges facing young people today, and whose business and expansion relies as heavily on a trained workforce in every region of the world. The travel and tourism sector, which alone employs 255 million people globally, is expected to generate 73 million new jobs by 2022.

“The youth employment challenge will not be solved by one company or industry alone.” said Bill Reese, president and CEO, International Youth Foundation. “This paper and Hilton Worldwide’s leadership provide a critical foundation for how hospitality companies can respond to youth development strategically, while also supporting their business goals, and IYF looks forward to collaborating with other sectors such as retail and ICT-related industries to address youth issues in a holistic and sustainable manner.”

Also released today was “Investing in Young People,” a special report published in the Financial Times. The youth supplement, designed for release as a backdrop to the Davos discussions, highlights how companies, governments, and youth leaders are developing solutions to rising youth unemployment worldwide. Articles cover issues that include the emerging role of young people in revitalizing their impoverished, often violent urban communities; how some companies, worried about the aging workforce, are seeking new ways to attract young people to the farming sector; and how the tourism and travel industry can foster skills for the next generation of staff.

Want to Know More?

Read the Creating Opportunities for Youth in Hospitality white paper.

Learn more about what Hilton is doing to support young people.

world economic forum davos hilton worldwide original research christopher j nassetta hospitality growth sectors youth unemployment financial times