Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Even Turkish Kids Can't Find Jobs Right Now

While I've been scrapping by the past few months with temp work and odd jobs, I'll gladly take my employment prospects here over the situation in Turkey.
Setting the stage for the unemployment conundrum is the demographic fact that more than half of Turkey's estimated population of 75 million people is under the age of 30. And not only are there more youngsters seeking employment, they tend to be better educated than their elders. 
Over the past decade, many 20-somethings in Turkey have become the first members of their respective families to attend university or other institutions of higher learning. Over the same period, the country has experienced robust economic growth -- 8.2 percent in 2010, and averaging 6 percent annually from 2002-2008. But the growing economy hasn't been able to create jobs fast enough to handle the increasing number of youths entering the labor force. That has left many newly minted graduates unable to find a job to match their skills.
Interestingly, Occupy Istanbul hasn't really taken off.
So far, the issue of youth unemployment has not resonated politically. Among Turkey's mainstream opposition parties, interest tends to gravitate more toward issues with regular news coverage, such as constitutional reform. Young people, meanwhile, haven't been very politically active of late. For example, youth turnout was low at a scantily attended Occupy Istanbul event staged in early November.
Like members of their generation elsewhere, it may not be long before an event or person galvanizes the young, frustrated, overeducated and underemployed masses into rising up to do...something.

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