Struggling for youth

ILO in its 2012 report on Global employment trends for youth suggested there will be little improvement in youth labour market over the next five years up until 2016, noting that the rate of youth unemployment is projected to remain at the high levels, close to those of 2007 in the outset of global financial crisis. It looks like the youth is doomed for a decade in low paid low productivity work and closed opportunities as it proves once again that the crisis hit young people disproportionately in developed as well as in developing world.

According to a recently published Eurostat data the situation remains serious. In June 2012 nearly 5 to 6 million young persons under 25 were unemployed in the EU alone, which made an increase by nearly 230 thousand job seekers compared with a situation a year ago, in June 2011. Governments realised this only in the midst of financial turbulence and adopted a set of measures aiming at more flexible labour relations, targeted social dialogue, better education and training, more entrepreneurship and apprenticeship as well as making use of stronger partnership and solidarity in the society.

Thus from an experience in Lithuania we can draw some conclusions:

  1. An increasing number of legislation directed at employment protection may be counterproductive if not balanced. We should acknowledge that flexicurity remains a cure where for example temporary contracts with a set of safeguards to ensure a minimum protection and decent working conditions might be a part of a solution. This could be done through effective social dialogue, which is a necessary condition.
  2. Increasing tensions in labour market highlighted a need for a well-functioning qualifications framework. Otherwise a rebound in unemployment might be postponed for a decade or even more due to persistent levels of skill mismatches as a structural barrier to employment.
  3. Primary to secondary education should remain in the focus if we want to make current improvement in labour market sustainable in the longer term. Otherwise high unemployment of unskilled or low skilled might become another structural hurdle to employment. This can be done via two-lane process between primary/secondary education and traineeship schemes.
  4. Education sector should work well with active labour market policies and professional experience schemes should be set against potential risks of maximising profit.
  5. Next to ensuring better skills, efforts should be made to support young businesses. Start-up, spin-off schemes supported by angel, venture or other private initiative funds must be set in place to work further with young entrepreneurs.
  6. In order to create stronger communication links in labour market, employment policies shall have active labour market information system, which can be well developed in partnership with the NGO.
  7. And finally, a circular mobility of youth should be further promoted at the European level, in a friendly manner to a re-emigration process.



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