“The Unemployee of the year”

by Didier Marlier on Saturday September 22nd, 2012

Two related events caught my attention in this week. The first was an article by Brazil’s leading newspaper, Globo (http://oglobo.globo.com/economia/um-quinto-dos-jovens-nem-estuda-nem-trabalha-nem-busca-emprego-6109028), quoting a study made by Professor Adalberto Cardoso, of the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro and based on data from the very serious Brazilian Institute of Georgraphy and Statistics. Following him, 20% of the Brazilians aged 18 to 25 are unemployed, not studying, basically sitting idle (roughly the size of Denmark’s population), in a country which economy was booming until recently! The article already speaks of a “lost generation” whose chance to grow and develop is already behind them…

A few days later, the latest shock-campain of Benetton (as they have used us to expect) came out under the brand of “Unemployee of the Year”…

Through it, Benetton wishes to draw our attention on the amount of wasted and qualified talents that our society is unable to employ, nurture and develop.

During the course of the European Summer, when working in Brazil, I chose to donate time and passion to the Instituto Nextel (one initiative amongst the hundreds by many corporations or N.G.O.s, aiming at taking over development responsibilities of a state which fails to do so), which is spotting young people (aged 16 to 24) and invests heavily on them for a period of 6 months. The participants are expected to follow a course (school, apprenticeship, university) as well as the Nextel cursus which aims at teaching them the “rules of the game” and help them get integrated faster into the working world. There, I saw young people, some of them with pretty heavy background and “heritage”, preparing themselves, without any complex, to become “The Future Elite of Brazil”… And I must say that, rarely with a group of adult executives, did I reach the level of depth and seriousness in the dialogue  that those “young heroes” (as Sergio Chaia C.E.O. called them) gratified me with.

Isn’t it a paradox that countries such as Germany, Brazil, Switzerland and many other are screaming for qualified employees and 5.2 million of youngsters sit on the hands in Brazil alone?

We, in the Enablers Network, are passionate about our and other people development. Although a very small “boutique consultancy”, we do put our actions where our mouth is: we regularly spot young (and less young as we should not forget the gold mine of experience sitting with retired or more senior people) people whom, despite of an atypical background which would not qualify them to apply for “main stream consultancies”, end up being the best in our sort of work and travel the world, being recognized as such. We feel this is our social responsibility and pure interest!

A country, a society that are incapable of providing direction, hope, passion and energy to their future leaders are preparing themselves for difficult times…

Thank you all, in the corporate world, who dedicate time, resources and passion to such promising people.

In Villars with several phone meetings and coaching this week. The next one, back in SĂŁo-Paulo for several conferences. Have a great week all!


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12 Responses to ““The Unemployee of the year””

  1. Hello Didier
    I miss your posts last months. Thank you for this one.
    I’m truly convinced you are also thinking about the Portuguese situation when you say:
    “A country, a society that are incapable of providing direction, hope, passion and energy to their future leaders are preparing themselves for difficult times…”
    That’s what are going on now.

    • Thank you Victor… Yes, it really is worrying to see the most promising “asset” of a country being left idle, helpless and hopeless… Take care and thanks for your comment!

    • If only this sentence was about one single country, Victor… “Old Europe”, once said Donald Rumsfeld…
      Yes, what a waiste, or a crime should I say.

      • Thank you Dimitri, I guess the waste of talent and energy is specifically touchy for people who do our work… But what are we doing to our “children”???

  2. Dear Didier

    Thanks for sharing this piece of information, because I would not have known it otherwise.

    More importantly touching upon the key words Country & Society.

    In the history of mankind, Countries as we see them today are very recent formation. And governance of these do not give too much of hope. Contrary to countries, Societies have existed for much much longer.

    Society centers around PEOPLE . So focus on the capability of the people and mobilization of people is important to bring about the change. This is where countries come in the way because movement of people (labour – as governments love to call them instead of assets) is controlled.

    The efforts of Society – Social interactions (People to People) can influence happening of the change of which we all are part of.

    And people who engage with and contribute to these positive social changes are true leaders.

    Best regards
    Harish Jaisingh

    • Excellent point to which I was blind myself Harish… Thank you, this is real good food for thought!!! And thank you for having spread this post to your friends…

  3. Dear Didier, the reason why youngsters leave school in Brazil are many, but the meaninglessness of the contents and the authoritarian way of “filling their heads with contents” are central, to my view. I wrote a book (in portuguese, sorry to say….) about it. It is available for free download in PDF (this is my work in social responsibility: spreading this ideas) in our site, in the hope social responsible leaders would understand the challenge and share the responsibility for changing this reality. It is much easier than it seems. All we need is a coalition of leaders willing to take action. The book is called responsabilidade social X responsabilidade cultural. The link is http://www.symballein.com.br/pt/livros-e-artigos
    Cheers to all

    • Thank you so much for this Carmen… I agree with your point which reminds me of my last lost in July, referring to why 20 waiters had left their job as soon as they’d won the lottery… They left because found no Purpose, Passion, Pride nor Pleasure. Same could be true for school and work… Thank you

  4. Thanks Didier for your wake up call concerning the unemployed young generation. I share the point that it is one of the most worrying problem many developped or even so called “emerging” countries are facing. Based in the vibrant “shanghai megaolopole ” , I see many young and talented French boys and girls moving to China to get their first experience that their lagging and ideological home country is less than ever capable to provide to them. They are courageous and gifted and often the cream of our society or at least the energetic part of it , they are having a very tough time and are not always well accepted . I dream we could offer them more support and sometimes a chance by organizing collectively better the opportunities that exist . Any idea among the “enablers club” is really welcome.
    Thank you Didier for sharing your passion with us on a weekly basis , this is refreshing and a source of energy !

    • Merci Michel, and the number of mails received this week (not all blog comments) seem to show that we business leaders are concerned about this. Something will hopefully come out. Other than acting via the French Chamber of Commerce, I have no immediate idea of how to support those young and courageous expats. I do see though, working for several French multinational firms that the tendency is to send young people abroad too often on the basis of their degree instead of on their willingness to appreciate the local culture. and this may create for the locals an impression that we expats still believe to be “en territoire conquis”… Helping them quickly get in tune with local culture and customs could be a great purpose for the Chamber… THANK YOU for your heartwarming comment. Have a good week in Shanghai…


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