Europe – Youth employment is still not back to its pre-crisis level

Ten years after the economic crisis, youth employment in Europe is still not back to its pre-crisis level. This is especially true for countries in southern and eastern Europe. The report looks at the development of youth labour markets in the EU countries. It identifies groups of young people disproportionately affected by the crisis and those that have not fully benefitted from the recent recovery.

This paper identifies different groups of young people within individual coun- tries who have been more strongly a ected in their employment status by the crisis and who have bene ted less by the recent recovery. In most countries, this applies to men rather than women and those aged 25-29 rather than those aged 20-24. It is also safe to assume that marginalised groups such as third-country migrants, ethnic minorities, refugees and people with disabilities – each of which face speci c barriers in entering the labour market – are among those most af- fected by the crisis, although they do not show up in EU comparative statistics. These groups have so far not fully bene ted from the support provided through the Youth Guarantee or other initiatives. They need tailored support that addresses their specific barriers to participation in employment, education and training. The following measures would help in making support available for groups of young people who so far have not been adequately reached:

Raising the age limit for eligibility of Youth Guarantee support

In most EU states, young people aged 25 to 29 are among the most a ected by the crisis both in absolute and in relative terms. In this age-bracket, many university graduates enter the labour market. At the same time, a number of young people will already have children to support. Thirteen countries have already raised the eligibility age limit for support under the Youth Guarantee scheme to include those under 30. More should follow.

Engaging young people who are hardest to reach

Any support should speci cally aim to engage young people who are hardest to reach and not easily captured by mainstream employment and inclusion programmes. This requires the identification of this target group and further capacity building in the member states. In more than half of EU member states, youth seeking to register for offerings within the Youth Guarantee must do so exclusively through state-run public employment services. More organisations should be involved as entry points in order to expand outreach to young people. Youth organisations, local municipalities and other bodies with closer ties to otherwise hard-to-reach youth are especially relevant here.

Strengthening Civil Society Organisations targeting youth employment

In addition to state agencies such as public employment services, many civil so- ciety organisations such as NGOs, foundations, trade unions, youth organisations or social businesses support young people in returning to education or nding employment. In some instances, these organisations deliver government-funded programmes that include the Youth Guarantee, in other cases, they o er complementary interventions and services to young people. In order to better determine which measures and approaches are e ective in yielding desired outcomes, we need more empirical evidence and knowledge in the eld regarding good practices. Member states could take on a stronger coordination role here by making transparent extant initiatives and thus facilitating cross-national connections. On a European level, mutual learning and exchange between these organisations should be facilitated in order to increase their impact.

In conclusion, a full recovery of the youth unemployment situation is still years away and will require favourable macroeconomic development. A loss of focus on the issue is therefore ill-advised. The Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative should be made permanent (funding) mechanisms in order to balance the different labour market outlooks of young people in Europe. It is therefore good news that the Youth Guarantee is anchored in the new European Pillar of Social Rights. However, this can only complement necessary structural reforms that are necessary in a number of member states if the transition from education to employment for young people is to be facilitated. These reforms include aligning education systems in general and vocational training in particular more e ectively with the demands of the labour market. Such reforms also involve strengthening public employment services and their capacity to collaborate with other societal actors.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at An Incomplete Recovery – Youth Unemployment in Europe 2008 – 2016

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