The challenge of youth employment in Asia: Lessons from four fast-growing economies

Andy Mckay*, Chiara Mussida, Leticia Veruete

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The situation of young in relation to the labour market is a matter of serious concern for many governments, and an issue of increasing focus in intentional policy discussions. In this paper we have drawn on comparable school to work transition survey data in order to examine the nature of youth employment in four important and generally successful Asian economies: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam. Each of these are also relatively engaged in international trade, though to varying extents. In all countries many young people continue to be engaged in self-employment or unpaid family work, and while in some cases this may reflect lack of opportunities for wage work in the formal sector, often such outcomes may be positive choices on the part of the young people. The availability of formal jobs for young people varies across the four countries here, with the extent and diversity of industrialisation or exports being one important factor, as well as the level of education. In Vietnam, the country most advanced in these areas, the availability of formal jobs is significantly greater than in the other countries and is large on an international scale, while in Bangladesh and Cambodia the textiles and garments sectors have played an important role in creating formal work opportunities, especially for females.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1067
Number of pages23
JournalWorld Economy
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Asia
  • Youth employment
  • informality


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