European launch of Global Youth Wellbeing Index

Panel discussion at European launch of

Panel discussion at European launch of Global Youth Wellbeing Index

Last week Green Hotelier was fortunate enough to attend the European launch of Hilton Worldwide's Global Youth Wellbeing Index, a tool that examines the quality of life for young people in 30 countries.

The report was compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and International Youth Foundation (IYF), with support from Hilton Worldwide. The Index assesses youth wellbeing across six interconnected areas: citizen participation, economic opportunity, education, health, information & communications technology and safety and security. Representing nearly 70% of the world's youth population, the Index is the first comprehensive measurement of youth wellbeing and will help policymakers, donors, businesses and young people make strategic investments in youth programming and elevate youth issues to the top of the global agenda.

Although youth (ages 10 to 24) comprise a quarter of the world's population, they remain an underutilised source of innovation, energy, and enthusiasm. 74 million youth worldwide are unemployed, and nearly one-quarter of the world's youth are neither working nor studying. Yet, at a time when policy and investment decisions to address these challenges are increasingly data-driven, existing data on youth development and wellbeing is often fragmented, inconsistent or non-existent.

Key findings from the Index include:

  • 85% of the world's youth represented in the Index experience lower levels of wellbeing
  • Across countries, scores indicate youth are strongest in health and weakest in economic opportunity
  • Even where young people are doing relatively well and display success in certain areas, they still face specific challenges and limitations
  • How young people feel about their own wellbeing doesn't always align with what the objective data suggests

While richer countries, such as Australia and Sweden rank higher in overall youth wellbeing, income is not always a predictor of rank. In Russia, a high income country, young people are not necessarily benefitting from strong economic growth as evidenced by its lower ranking. Vietnam also scores well overall, outranking its income group peers.

'As a leading global hospitality company, we recognize that helping to improve the quality of life for young people around the world is critically important not only for society, but also for our business,' said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide. 'Young people are the next generation of our Team Members and guests. Having a more holistic, data-driven analysis of the state of their wellbeing will enable us to make more strategic decisions and investments to address their needs.'

Simeon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President Europe Middle East and Africa for Hilton Worldwide welcomed the audience by emphasising the importance of understanding young people so their potential can be met and William Reese, CEO of International Youth Foundation, commented  that 'young people need to be problem solvers of their own futures, rather than problems to be solved'.

After an introduction a panel discussion looked at how the report could be used from different perspectives and what surprised the audience. The panel session was led by Oliver Balch and included representatives from the Department for International Development, Standard Chartered, Youth Business International and Enternships.

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index from CSIS on Vimeo.

The Index follows a recent announcement from Hilton Worldwide to address youth unemployment and bridge the talent gap. Open Doors is a global commitment that aims to empower at least one million young people to reach their full potential by 2019 by connecting them to the world of travel, preparing them for success in the world of work and beyond and employing them at more than 4,000 owned, managed and franchised hotels worldwide.

The release of the Global Youth Wellbeing Index is an outgrowth of the commitment Hilton Worldwide and IYF made at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to address the youth employment challenge and the need for better youth related-data to assess how young people are faring around the world. CSIS was brought in as a partner to develop and advance the Index, which is the flagship project of the Youth, Prosperity and Security Initiative at CSIS. In addition to the Index, Hilton Worldwide supported IYF in developing a white paper, Creating Opportunities for Youth in Hospitality, which highlights career opportunities for youth in the global hospitality industry.

For a full copy of the Global Youth Wellbeing Index go to youthindex.org and  find out more about Hilton's youth policies at hiltonworldwide.com/youth. International Tourism Partnership runs its own programme utilising the hospitality industry to pull disadvantaged young people out of unemployment. Find out more at www.youthcareerinitiative.org

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