Labour market context for TVET in Asia and the Pacific

With a population of 4.3 billion spread across 58 countries and areas, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for over one-third of the world’s GDP at purchasing power parity
(UNESCAP 2022,  ADB 2021) 

Strong economic growth over the past two decades has led to a significant reduction in the incidence of extreme poverty in the region, with less than 5% of the region’s population living on less than US$1.90 per day in 2019 compared to more than 22% in 2000. However, the gap between the richest 10% and the poorest 10% of the region’s population is twice as large as the average across OECD countries. (OECD 2022)

Income inequality varies across the region, with the highest levels found in South and East Asia and the lowest levels found in Central Asia and the Pacific. (UNDP 2022)

While the Asia-Pacific has the world’s lowest unemployment rate, over two-thirds of the region’s workers are informally employed, often working for low pay, in precarious situations and under poor conditions. (ILO 2018)

Young people aged 15-24 are five times more likely to be unemployed than their adult counterparts in the region. Furthermore, one in four Asia-Pacific youth are not in employment, education or training (NEET), with three-quarters of NEET youth being women, who are often expected to play a role in domestic care arrangements and/or subsistence production work. (ADB 2022)

Despite experiencing high barriers to decent employment, only between 0.5% and 23% of young people in the Asia-Pacific were enrolled in secondary TVET programmes in 2018. (UNESCO 2018)

Furthermore, across all sub-regions of the Asia-Pacific, TVET programmes attract more young men than young women. (UNESCO 2020)

TVET plays a vital role in promoting the right to full and productive employment and decent work for Asia-Pacific’s rapidly ageing population. An estimated one in seven people in the region are currently aged 60 or older, with this ratio projected to increase to one in four by 2050. (UNESCAP 2022)

Key facts

“Despite the importance of human resources for developing industries in the region, many key stakeholders do not yet understand it. This can lead to low participation rates in secondary TVET programmes, together with the second rate image of TVET compared to academic tracks.”

(UNESCO 2020) 


The BILT project is implemented by

International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training

with support of

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

and sponsored by

Federal Ministry of Education and Reserve

UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre

for Technical and Vocational Education and Training

UN Campus, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1

53113 Bonn, Germany


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