The economical crisis and its influence on the youth unemployment rate in the European Union

The European Union states offer a very well developed education for its young citizens. Probably it’s one of the best-developed and networked educational-system worldwide. A few years ago, in most European countries the youth unemployment rate was much lower then today. For example ten years ago, the youth unemployment rate of Spain was at around 24,5%, in Austria 6 %, in Germany 7,8% and with 4,4% the Netherlands almost showed full employment.

But in the past 3 years the youth unemployment rate increased dramatically. The main activator for this increase was the financial-/ economic crisis. Lot’s of companies lost huge amounts of money. As a consequence of the crisis numerous companies had to close or at least they had to fire a huge number of their employees. Short-time work as well as short-term contracts became popular and necessary. Now, our economy is provided in the middle of the recovery. But most of the firms still suffer from the crisis. They still work with a reduced number of employees because they cannot afford to hire more. The main victims of this crisis are young people. Especially students were hit from the economic crisis. Companies still cannot afford to train and educate young people and respectively students. Every year numerous students finish their studies but only a few of them get the chance to work in a company. Every year lots of alumni remain jobless. A few years ago the situation was totally different. Academic alumni never really had problems to find a job, because people with academic grades were highly demanded on the labour market. Today the youth unemployment rate in all member states of the European Union is at around 21 % (2010). That’s twice as high as the whole unemployment rate of the EU (9,6%). But of course, there are big differences between the individual member states of the EU. For example in Austria the unemployment rate is about 10 % while the youth unemployment rate of Spain is at around 40 %!! This immense increase in the youth unemployment rate, of course, fears people across Europe that large numbers of young people could become dependent on government aid. But this is not only the fault of the economic crisis. As Jose Isaias, the head of the Spanish delegation at BusinessEurope and also Europe’s largest employers’ association said, the mismatch between the skills which are taught in schools/ university and the needs of the labour market is also to blame. “We must ask ourselves if what is being produced at universities has any connection to reality,” Jose Isaias told AFP.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with Jose Isaias, that this immense increase in the youth unemployment rate is not only the fault of the economic crisis but also of the mismatch between the taught skills and the needs of the labour market?



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