Fifteen percent of the young people who were employed before the pandemic are out of jobs now, according to a survey by the Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD).
Shakil Ahmed, a senior research associate at BIGD, and Asma Tabassum, an executive assistant at the institution, presented the findings at a webinar titled "Covid Effects on the Youth of Bangladesh" on Tuesday.
According to the study conducted in January 2021, youths employed in skilled professions, such as education, private firms, and handicrafts, are experiencing more prolonged unemployment compared to those in less skilled and essential professions like agriculture, day labour, and transport.
Even among those who managed to retain or regain employment, average income was 11% below the pre-Covid levels. Youths from urban areas suffered greater income loss, 15%, than those from rural areas, 9%.
Azharul Islam Khan, director general of Department of Youth Development, highlighted the need for Bangladesh to fully utilise the youth dividend that "we are lucky to have at present".
He also said, "Youth are the future leaders. They are more productive and invest their time in developing our society. One-third of the total population is youth. To overcome the economy from this pandemic shock, the youth lead the fight."
Dr Jennifer Seager, assistant professor of Global Health and Economics at George Washington University, remarked that financial constraints have also resulted in decreasing jobs and education aspirations among the youth.
She said Covid has had an impact on the mental health of all and the youth, who are facing multiple challenges brought by the pandemic, are likely to suffer more.
Dr Imran Matin, executive director of BIGD, mentioned that the gender disparity dimensions of the pandemic become more evident in the longer term, and it is the same among the youth, which is very concerning.
Dr Muhammad Munir Hussain, national program officer at UNFPA, and Joydeep Sinha Roy, head of operations of Skills Development Program at BRAC, also spoke at the event.
The webinar was moderated by Dr Imran Matin.