It’s alive! It’s aliiiiiive! The Eurozone economy has been zapped with a bolt of lightning and brought back from the dead. The Single Currency bloc is now expected to post its strongest growth figures in a decade.

Yet not everybody is celebrating this new lease of life. While the Eurozone unemployment rate has fallen steadily to less than 9% for September 2017 (its lowest since February 2009), youth unemployment is still above 18%. Unemployment rates for 15-24 year-olds vary wildly across the continent, from around 40% in Greece, Spain and Italy, to roughly 10% in Germany and the Netherlands.

Many young people sheltered from the worst of the 2007-2008 crisis by staying in higher education. However, you can’t stay in education forever, and meanwhile its common for young people to have racked up significant student debts. How can Europe avoid a generation of over-educated, under-employed, and heavily-indebted young people?

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Marco arguing that education is great for helping you stand out from the crowd, but it doesn’t (by itself) create jobs. So, how can Europe ensure people can actually get quality jobs when they leave education?

To get a response, we put Marco’s comment to Malcolm Byrne, Head of Communications at the Irish Higher Education Authority and part of Friends of Europe’s European Young Leader programme. Ireland was facing an unemployment rate of roughly 15% in 2012 but today it’s down to a nine-year low of about 6%. So what’s the secret to making sure young graduates have jobs waiting for them when they conclude their studies?

We also had a comment from Saqlain arguing that the trick was for education systems in Europe to place a much greater emphasis on vocational training and skills. How would Malcolm Byrne respond?

Why is youth unemployment still so high? How can Europe ensure students get jobs when they leave education? Should education systems place a stronger emphasis on vocational training and skills? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Tax Credits


34 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Ivan Burrows

    By banning pointless collage courses, teaching them something useful and making their qualifications actually mean something. Just how many lesbian dance teachers, sociologists, etc does the world actually need ?

    • Ian

      If you just use the talents of the people right and find how society could use them best , you would have less mass unemployment than now .People who do not know , what to do are the problem .And employers who want cheap employees paid by society .If you didn’t privatize health care , you didn’t would have such problems there

  2. Vassiliki Xifteri

    Making sure that there are decent tax and start up policies. In Greece, we pay 80% In taxes to a corrupted state. Thus, many private enterprises close and there is no way we develop a positive ground for investments. If something like this happens, there will be no jobs in the private sector, as it already happens in Greece and people move away from their homes without wanting to.

  3. George Deli

    Maybe this is the wrong point after all.
    We should absolutely ensure people get access to education.
    We should also ensure there is no roadblock differentiating southerners from northerners (So that the outrageous 40% will go down).
    But ensuring that one gets a (related) job after education means there is no selection going on. So this either has to happen before ( People not actually productive and gifted enough do NOT get a degree ) or after (People find work but do not manage to keep it because too many others are better than they are)
    Keep in mind that however harsh, selection is the only tool society has to correct mistakes in judgment.
    In simple words: If I want to become a doctor but I am not good at memorizing illnesses and medications I should not be allowed to become a doctor. The system should reject my mistake or people’s lives will be at risk by a lousy doctor.

    • Ian

      At first young people should also get the time to find out , where there talents are .A person who didn’t made it too a good doctor or lawyer may have other talents .It’s time for society to find them out , so you would need less selection.Young people would be preselected and not just study something because of having no idea what to do.

    • Paul X

      “It’s time for society to find them out” why should society take on the responsibility for finding out what people are good for?….a first step in selecting anyone for anything is are they motivated… so those who sit back and expect everything to come to them deserve nothing, whilst those who get off their x box and actively do something to discover their talents deserve all the help then can get

  4. Vytautas Vėžys

    You don’t need to ensure anything. It’s called “free market”. You get what you are worth (or you think you are worth).
    If you have good education – you can be NASA engineer.
    If you were too lazy – prostitution and drug dealing are options.

    • Ian

      Or you inherit something valuable having a life without problems , despite you would better sorted in a post job . You shouldn’t suggest crimes as job because this option is unlawful and therefore null and void

  5. Ivan Burrows

    Incompetent Brussels policy making and the idiotic political currency called the Euro. EU fanatics have no interest in mass unemployment or the misery it causes as long as the dogma of ‘ever’closer union’ is followed.

  6. Lazar Madalina

    unemployed at 15? when do they want us to start working? at 5? Anyway, the reason why youths don’t throw themselves eagerly into the abyss of jobs is because they are poorly paid. And salaries will drop again, in my country.

  7. Nick Komselis

    Unemployment is high in General in the Taxing Auschwitz which is what most people call European Union. As long as we’re being governed by greedy bureaucrats and lousy corrupted politicians who want to overtax everything that moves in order to pay their pensions and their rewards we have no future in this Europe. We have to oust them immediately.

  8. Росен Костов

    Short version: it all boils down to 2 things – how good you are; how motivated you are. If one of those things is lacking, you need to work on it.

    Long version: Because young people nowadays are clueless, take useless courses with next to no realization, complain all the time, are scared to take risks, take new jobs, lose current jobs, and are too lazy to start low and build a proper career. I’m 27, I’ve changed 6 jobs in my life, and I’m currently working for a very decent wage in comparison to my country’s median.

    I’m surrounding myself with decent and motivated people, but the majority just isn’t like that. Especially not in Southern Europe, where the mentality is totally different than in Central and Northern Europe. The majority expects to drink their butts out in university, graduate in some random easy-to-get degree or their childhood-dream degree with zero relevance, forget any and all of what they studied (if they studied at all), and then get set for life on their first job. In reality, they end up living with their parents for years and blaming the government, while working a low-paid job that barely even requires high-school education.

    • Lino Galveias

      that post is just so reducing and full of preconceptions.
      In every country, even in southern Europe, you have amazingly talented people with high marks, excellent talent and ideas, knowledge of many languages and of the world due to Erasmus and to other programs, etc. but which are not recognized by greedy employers

    • Росен Костов

      I live in Southern Europe. I have taken advantage of Erasmus and other programs. Most of my employers have recognized these.

    • Росен Костов

      But I’m a minority, which was actually the whole point of my post and the reason why all of this is even happening. And it’s not “the government’s” or “the institutions'” fault – it’s the people. Nothing is ever going to change if all millennials do is complaining and asking for handouts instead of sitting on their butts and get cracking.

    • Ian

      Youre wrong that could not even explain like for example informatics in Spain , who have no job.You could not solve a problem like youth unemployment by solely blaming it on the people

    • Eduardo Jorge Teixeira

      Ah, the meritocratic view. Sorry, that’s very naive. If you work in a higher than average salary, good for you. You chose an area where there is more demand than supply.

    • Miguel Cabrita

      Simply, whatever qualification you have, for most available jobs what counts are skills acquired onjob, wich young people lack because they do not have the work experience to have yet acquired those skills. Sounds oxymoronic and it is, the question being posited itself it’s a oxymoron.

    • Росен Костов

      Eduardo, yes, I chose the area – you picked the perfect words to support my case. So what’s your point?

      Miguel, that’s why you do internships and start low. Go offer the average millennial an internship and they’ll just laugh in your face, expecting full pay and company benefits from the 1st month, become a senior in 1 year, then a manager in the 2nd year and maybe even own the company in 5 years because why not. Well, that’s not how it works.

    • Росен Костов

      People say “you need experience for the job, but you also need a job for the experience”. Do you really expect to be allowed to work as a full-time engineer right off the bat after you graduate from technical university? Like, really? Seriously? Have you ever worked a job before? Do you have any kind of corporate culture and work behavior? Have you ever worked with real people, apart from those made-up school projects?

      I spent 4 months of doing nothing after I graduated because I felt entitled to a good job, having been a good student who took advantage of extra-curricular activities. 4 months until I finally realized I was actually not worth as much as I thought I was and I lowered my bar. Even so, I lost my first two jobs because the things “work-life balance” and “corporate culture” were a chimera for me. I’d get late for the job, I’d be completely alienated from my team, I’d get 4-5 hrs sleep/day because I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t, change my routine.

      You wanna become a doctor – first you become a nurse. You wanna become an engineer – first you become a technician. You wanna become a teacher – first you become a tutor. You wanna become an HR manager – first you become a recruiter. You wanna become a hotel manager – first you become a receptionist. You wanna become an investor – first you become a financier, you wanna become mayor – first you become a clerk. Very simple things, really. If you can’t take the time to introduce yourself to the area you’re willing to work in and to solidify your knowledge and gain some practical skills, then you just don’t deserve the job. More importantly (and I really mean this part, believe me), you will not even see if that job area is really what you want. Believe me when I say that you do not want your first post-graduate job to be a demanding, high-paid, high-responsibility position. It will very likely end bad. Very bad.

      There are plenty of jobs because companies go to cheap-labor Southern Europe, so don’t tell me “there are no jobs”. You’re just lazy and scared. These are the 2 MAIN things that are holding you back, everything else is just sticks and stones. Have a nice evening!

    • Lino Galveias

      plus, we demand experience but employers don’t employ because “we want experience”. And we can’t work on modern slavery, aka, paid internships….
      Plus, in many companies you don’t grow as a professional, your skills are not recognized, they don’t even ask you for ideas
      “you’re here to do, not to think” so they say. And so many leave
      And many of southern Europe will then go to northern and central Europe and etc where they are recognised

  9. Marco Bianchi

    Because no one want to take the burden of training the youth. Everyone wants to hire young people fully capable of doing their job and pay them the least possible.

  10. Ian

    At first young people should also get the time to find out , where there talents are .A person who didn’t made it too a good doctor or lawyer may have other talents .It’s time for society to find them out , so you would need less selection.Young people would be preselected and not just study something because of having no idea what to do.It is in my opinion better to find those talents in school than to only think of selection of the best .

  11. Eduardo Jorge Teixeira

    It’s mainly because of a mix globalization and technological evolution.

    Globalization because our clueless leaders like Macron and Merkel think we can compete with countries with half-slavery working conditions and still have our social protection system (do not think we should get rid of it. I don’t. I just think we have to choose between it and open markets. I choose the former).

    Technological evolution because automation destroys lots of jobs.

    Add to this things like unions losing bargain power due to lower number of members and laws created by neoliberal goverments, and we have a cocktail wich can only result in inequality and unemployment.

    To solve the unemployment problem we need political will and I do not see it to face the main causes I wrote above,

  12. Franck Legon

    Because retirement age has been set further, so now we have to pay for unemployed young people on wellfare, living longer on their parents income, instead of letting the tired elders retire and have their pension they paid for their life through. Such a smart move…

  13. Francois

    Unemployment rate = number of unemployed / number of employed

    For sure, there is a lack of employment in some countries, for young people and for everyone else. But almost everywhere, the youth unemployment rate is distorted by the low level of employment in that age group. The low level of employment is mainly a consequence of the high share of young people still in education. In my opinion, the youth unemployment rate is a rather weak indicator of the state of the labour market for young people.

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