Social observer from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, Prof. Dr. Ben White, suggests that every government around the world must partake in reducing the number of youth unemployment that continues to increase due to economic disruption and the limited access to agricultural land. “The government cannot hand everything over to the labor market,” stated Ben White after presenting the international conference entitled Population and Social Policy in a Disrupted World at University Club UGM, Monday (8/6).
Ben mentioned that the open unemployment rates of young people are two to three times higher than the adult rates. In fact, there is more youth who work below the poverty threshold compared to adults. “Generally, unemployment is highest in rural areas and women are more likely to be unemployed.”
He opines there is a tendency throughout the world that education degrees do no longer guarantee jobs. Rather, it is easier for people with connections and assertiveness to find a job. “There are many countries with an excess supply of unemployed graduates.”
Drastic changes in information and communication technology coupled with technological disruption lead to the decrease in employment opportunities. Moreover, not many young people are willing to work as farmers due to the lack of agricultural land in villages. “It is not because they do not want to, but they need land to cultivate. Usually, they will migrate and then go home,” he said.
Ben does not give a detailed solution to the problem, but he believes the government can adopt the policies of European countries, where the government subsidizes unemployed youth or providing them jobs with salary. “States might only give simple jobs but they can involve thousands of youth in elderly care jobs. There are so many things the state can do.”
Population observer from the Faculty of Social and Political Studies UGM, Prof. Muhadjir Darwin, asserts that there are anomalies in the correlation between economic growth, unemployment rates, and population growth. According to Muhadjir, high economic growth should be able to cut population growth and unemployment rates. “Economic growth in Indonesia is high but population growth and youth unemployment are still increasing.”
Anthropologist from Faculty of Cultural Sciences UGM, Dr. Pande Made Kutanegara, states the changes in the current industrial revolution made development theories that have long been used unreliable. In his opinion, it is time for academics to find new development theories to discuss the real issues in the community. The state must seek to respond to the changes in technology, socio-economic issues, and make policies to open space for the young generation. “The government must formulate and predict the future development of social and economic situation,” he explained.