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Citigroup to offer 6,000 jobs to youths in Asia-Pacific over three years to combat Covid-19's impact on employment

Alison Tudor-Ackroyd alison.t-a@scmp.com
·3 mins read

Citigroup said it plans to offer 6,000 jobs and 60,000 training opportunities for youths across the Asia-Pacific region over the next three years to help cushion the impact from the global coronavirus pandemic, as unemployment rises in shrinking economies amid lockdowns.

Citi and the Citi Foundation will commit US$35 million together to help create economic opportunities and employability for youth from low-income and underserved communities in the region by 2023, according to a press statement.

The New York-headquartered bank is stepping-up in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on youth employment in the region.

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"Communities in Asia-Pacific are facing a youth unemployment crisis, especially among low-income and underserved groups, due to the impact of Covid-19," said Peter Babej, Citi's Asia-Pacific CEO.

Hundreds of people queue outside an Australian government welfare centre, Centrelink, in Melbourne on March 23. Photo: Agence France-Presse alt=Hundreds of people queue outside an Australian government welfare centre, Centrelink, in Melbourne on March 23. Photo: Agence France-Presse

Asia-Pacific is home to 700 million youths aged 15 to 24 years who account for almost half of the region's jobless, according to the International Labour Organization's data. Projections through the end of this year in 13 countries show sizeable jumps, with youth unemployment rates doubling the 2019 rate in some cases.

The jobs and training opportunities will be spread across Citi's businesses including its summer internship programme, full-time analyst and associate roles, and on-campus programmes and opportunities.

Citi's move draws a contrast with HSBC, which resumed its plan in June to slash global headcounts by 35,000 jobs to reduce annual expenses by US$4.5 billion over the next three years. The coronavirus pandemic temporarily forced the London-based lender to suspend its cuts, but it resumed making ther redundancies, even as the disease continued to sicken and kill, as well as decimate economies and jobs. The Covid-19 has topped 30 million confirmed cases worldwide at last count, claiming more than 900,000 lives.

To provide students the opportunity to experience banking despite the pandemic, Citi Asia-Pacific launched a virtual intern programme, open for enrolment to students around the world.

Since 1999, the Citi Foundation has invested over US$280 million in grant funds.

The jobs will be offered across different businesses in the region including banking, capital markets and advisory, markets and securities services and consumer banking, Bloomberg reported, citing a Hong Kong-based spokesman.

The programme will cover a mixture of new positions and annual hiring needs, the spokesman said. Hiring will be done across Asia Pacific, but many of the jobs are expected to come in South East Asia, he said.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.