Huge inequalities for young water and sanitation sector employees revealed

Research commissioned by AquaFed reveals a stark warning about the treatment of young potential and current employees, particularly in the global south.

We have found a generation of young, bright, talented people with immense hunger to drive change, but they are being systemically let down. A lack of equal opportunities to enter the sector and little or no capacity among managers to nurture young people, seriously undermines the future sustainability of water and sanitation services.

At all levels, the sector is genuinely making efforts to support young people, but the research shows the talking and platitudes have to stop, and that it is time for action.

The research shows:

• Water supply and sanitation services are at risk because providers are failing to attract and leverage the potential of young people.

• Water supply and sanitation providers need to remove barriers to young professionals’ employment.

• The WSS sector is not providing enough training and development opportunities for young people.

• WSS service providers are not attracting the best young talent, and must do much more to appeal to young professionals

But there are also great examples of good practise and we have highlighted these in our summary.

In the next phase of our work, we aim to produce practical guidance for utility and service managers to help overcome the issues in the report.

The research was carried out for us independently by the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN).

The summary of the research is in this Briefing Note. This is based on the results of two separate surveys – one for young people and the other for employers.