Reducing youth unemployment: Why Europe should not celebrate yet

Despite the decrease of the unemployment rate at the EU level, it is noteworthy that the percentage of jobless people remain at high levels, especially in Southern Europe, after seven years of the financial crisis.

According to the most recent data, not surprisingly, Greece remains a “champion” of unemployment with a rate of 23.5%, much higher than the average 9.5% of the euro area. In the meanwhile, almost half a million of Greeks have left their country, in search of better living conditions all around the world. Most importantly, the vast majority of them are in a young and more productive age.

Taking into account this factor, as well as the large number of unregistered or underemployed employees, it is still early to celebrate for the decrease in rates of unemployment in Spain (18.2%), Cyprus (12.5%), Italy (11.7%) and Croatia (11.3%).

In this regard, according to a ECB report published earlier this month, the real unemployment rate is almost double (18%) than the one published by Eurostat (9.5%).

Youth unemployment

One of the most disappointing fact is that the young people have suffered more severely the effects of unemployment.

In Greece, one out of two young people under-25 has no job, while the percentage is 17.2% in the euro area.

The impact of Youth Guarantee, a programme launched in 2013, has raised questions, as young people are getting uncertain and low-paid jobs or internships, with little prospect of career developments.

Moreover, the Youth Guarantee sometimes works in the favour of employers who deny to sign permanent contracts and prefer the solution of “rented” short-term employees.

Investment for jobsĀ 

Lack of direct investments, recession and uncertainty are inhibitory factors for a real increase of employment levels.

Also, the challenges of the current working environment are huge since the early career steps of job seekers. Globalization has raised huge demands for the organizations, companies and consequently for the candidates’ skills.

In the EU, the issue of youth unemployment has been recognised, but the measures have been proved inadequate until now.

While the Member States are complaining about the austerity that the ECB and the institutions impose, Mario Draghi affirmed that monetary policy cannot take the whole weight of the economic recovery. Moreover, he has repeatedly urged governments to implement reforms to reduce structural unemployment.

In the EU Commission’s Spring Package, a great emphasis has been given to growth and jobs’ creation, while country-specific recommendations have been provided.

‘We need to restore opportunities for those who left behind and keep pace with changing skills needs by investing in high quality education and training’, said Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Labour.

Image: dreamlandia