All this week, Debating Europe will be publishing a themed series of posts looking at the issue of youth unemployment in Europe. With young people the first to be fired and the last to be hired in a crisis, this is an issue that should be high up the political agenda. On Wednesday 15 May, Debating Europe held an event in partnership with Friends of Europe, bringing together high-ranking policy-makers in Brussels to ask how the EU can avoid a ‘Lost Generation‘. During the event, we published the results of research conducted on our behalf by Gallup.
Since the 1950s, there has been an expectation that the next generation will be better off than their parents’ generation. However, new Gallup research (online here) conducted for Debating Europe has found that the economic crisis has crushed this sense of progress. Europeans now expect the next generation to have less job security, less job satisfaction, less secure pensions, earn lower salaries, spend less time with their families and have less comfortable housing than their parents’ generation.
As recently as 2011, when Gallup conducted research examining pessimism towards the future, while they were not expecting any rapid improvement, Europeans overall were confident in their countries’ economic stability in the near future. But Gallup’s latest findings show that this feeling of optimism has collapsed.
Not everything is doom and gloom in this year’s survey, though. Respondents also said they expected the next generation to live in a cleaner environment, have more time for leisure activities, live longer, healthier lives and – in a world increasingly connected through the internet and social networks – be much more likely to keep contact with their friends.
Of the six countries surveyed, Poland was the most optimistic, with only 28% of people responding they felt pessimistic about the future for the next generation. Italy and France were the most gloomy, with over 65% of people answering they were pessimistic.
The survey, conducted mostly over phone, in April and May by Gallup, surveyed national representative samples of 5500 people aged 15+ across 6 EU Member States (representing over 70% of the population of the European Union).
What do YOU think? Do you think Europe’s young generation will have less job security, less job satisfaction and earn lower salaries than their parents’ generation? Or are you still optimistic about the future? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.