Labor Market Uncertainties for Youth and Young Adults
Date : 09 Nov 2017 - 10 Nov 2017
Venue : Asia Research Institute, Seminar Room
AS8 #04-04
10 Kent Ridge Crescent Road, Singapore 119260
Download Program and Abstracts as of Nov 7

Youth and young adults (roughly aged 15 to 35) are the drivers of future development in a society. They are incredible treasures for the economy, society and family. Their employment experiences affect a wide range of social behavior and well-being. Examples include their family formation behavior such as marriage, parenthood, family dynamics, intergenerational relations, family consumption behavior, as well as their future achievements, physical and psychological well-being.

The falling fertility rates and increasing aging population in many Asian countries have led to a shrinking proportion of working-age population hence a disappearing of the first demographic dividend. How to make full use of the working age population thus becomes a critical issue. Since the global recession in 2008, the high unemployment rates have become a concern for most countries. During the economic downturns, notably around 1997 and 2008, unemployment rates for youth have soared in many countries to levels significantly higher than those in other age groups. For instance, the youth unemployment rate in Southeast Asia is projected to be 13.6 percent in 2017, higher than 12.4 in 2015.

The heterogeneity of youth unemployment in Asia warrants careful examinations. For example, the gender gap in youth unemployment varies by regions. In East Asia, the youth unemployment rate for males has been higher than females since the late 1990s. In Southeast Asia, female youth unemployment is projected to reach 14.1 percent in 2017. These unemployment patterns also vary by other individual traits, family SES, and policy contexts. In addition, the long-term unemployment (with a duration longer than one year) has also increased in countries such as Japan and India. Less documented is the underemployment pattern among youth and young adult labor.

There is an urgent need to advance our knowledge about the varied reasons and consequences of these unstable labor market circumstances for young people, identify the vulnerable population, and develop potential policy interventions for the different regions in Asia.

In this conference, we seek to gain a better understanding of the following themes:

  • The landscape and patterns of unemployment, underemployment (both in domestic labor and the young migrant labor), NEET (not in education, employment, or training), among the youth and young adults in Asia, including young domestic labor and young migrant labor.
  • Social antecedents of unemployment and underemployment.
  • Short-term and long-term effects of unemployment on the psychological well-being and health of the young adults, family dynamics and family formation behavior, intergenerational time and money transfers, and career trajectories.
  • Policy implications on how to build a friendly and supportive environment for supporting youth and young adults to keep gainful employment, as well as to enhance their human and social capital to establish a smooth transition to adulthood and parenthood.
  • Cross-national comparison of these trends, antecedents and consequences.


Dr Yang Yi

Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
E |

Prof Yeung Wei-Jun Jean
Asia Research Institute, Centre for Family and Population Research, and Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore

Contact Person(s)
Sharon ONG