The very worrying analysis of youth unemployment in the capital of Boyacá

Tunja, the number one city in education and with high-quality universities, underestimates the human potential of young people.

In Tunja, young people are condemned to leave or endure job insecurity in the city.

By: Jacinto Pineda Jiménez, teacher ESAP Higher School of Public Administration

Young people since they woke up and under their arms with a resume, they walk through the cities of Colombia every day in the hazardous search for a job. Others spend hours in front of a computer, waiting for an opportunity. Many of them, at their young age with an enviable academic career.

In total, 2 million 997,887 young people in Colombia between 15 and 28 years old were not studying or employed for the quarter December 2023 – February 2024. This represented 26.8% of people of working age for said age range.

By sex, this relationship for men was 9.3% and for women it was 17.5%, that is, a gap of 8.2 percentage points (pp), which is alarming in a society that thinks about equity. .

There are 11 million 183,125 young people in Colombia who are of working age (PET), that is, 28.06% of the total national PET, of which 4 million 975,883 are employed, one million 189,819 young people are unemployed, while that 5 million 017,422 are studying, or do household chores, or simply got tired of looking for work.

When unemployment is looked at from a gender perspective, according to the latest figures, January-March 2024, in Colombia the gap is 8.3 pp between young men and women.

The unemployment rate for young men is 15.4% and that for women is 24.7%. Now the gender gap for unemployment in Colombia, in the same quarter, is generally 5.4 pp, which means that young women suffer the phenomenon of unemployment more severely.

According to the branch of activity where young people in Colombia are most engaged, commerce and vehicle repair are in first place (19.4%), followed by agriculture, livestock, hunting, forestry and fishing (14. 6%), while industry and manufacturing (11.4%). Artistic activities, entertainment, recreation and other service activities continue (8.7%), and professional, scientific, technical and administrative services activities continue with (8.2%), quarter December 2023 – February 2024. Therefore it is not understood the contempt for the countryside, when agriculture and livestock continue to be fundamental activities for young people.

Youth unemployment in Tunja, a complex path

In the quarter from May to June 2020, youth unemployment reached 43.8% in Tunja while that of the country was 30.6%. This quarter saw the highest peak for Tunja, since youth unemployment was measured, in the midst of the peak moment of the pandemic, which shows that young people suffered more severely the negative impacts of the pandemic, and especially those of Tunja. As evident in the graph, the behavior of youth unemployment in Tunja in the last year has been very irregular when compared to the panorama of the country. In the last quarter there was an improvement in the situation, as well as in some periods, which expresses the ups and downs to which youth are subjected.

DANE source, own elaboration

In Tunja, the working age population (PET) from 15 to 28 years old represents 28.99% of the total, that is, there are 40,823 young people out of 140,822 PET people, a proportion slightly higher than that of the country, which is 28.05 %, but much higher than what happens in the 23 main capitals of the country where the proportion is 26.67%. The above implies that the challenges that the capital of Boyacá offers in terms of the labor market are more complex than the rest of the country.

According to the subnational entrepreneurship index, 2024, Tunja ranks 21st among the 23 cities evaluated, in social capital and entrepreneurial performance 16th, but it continues to be the city that leads the training processes, both at a professional and technical level in Colombia.

That is to say, it is a city with capabilities and competencies, but where entrepreneurship cannot materialize, especially among young people. As evidenced, young people occupy activities where entrepreneurship is essential for job creation.

Today, on Labor Day, public action must be rethought in relation to young people who endure unemployment more rigorously; joint action by the State and the private sector is urgently needed. Tunja, for example, the number one city in education and with high-quality universities, belittles the human potential of young people, condemning them to leave or endure job insecurity in the city.

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