Portugal’s labour market – young people without prospects

Temporary jobs or jobs without contracts are common in Portugal. Almost half of the college graduates are unemployed. Their parents however have normal contracts. An overview of the problems in the Portuguese labour market:

14% of Portuguese workers are employed only temporarily and 3 of 10 Portuguese workers have no employment.

40% of high school graduates have no job. If you have a job, you earn only around 1,000 € per month. The average income in Portugal is 850 € (per month). Also 56% of the 15 to 34-year-olds still live with their parents.

On the other side there are protected jobs which base on secure contracts, with the best protection against dismissal. They have been established in the 1970s, but companies do not implement them anymore. Little by little companies created flexible contracts with few rights for employees. Due to this development the young generation suffered far worse terms than their parents’ generation.

Today, the labour market is segmented highly: there are just few people with very well-protected contracts and on the other hand many others who are skilled as well, have insecure contracts.

The EU Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund agree that Portugal must reform its labour market. The protection against dismissal has to be improved; working hours may be extended if required by companies.

The minority government of the now-retired Prime Minister José Sócrates wanted to determine the compensation payments for laid-off workers, with new contracts and create a new law which set a maximum amount of the compensation payments.

The EU Commission also recommends to invest in education, so that Portugal can offer more high-value goods and services.

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8 thoughts on “Portugal’s labour market – young people without prospects

  1. This can have devastating effects on Portugal as many young people can only get work experience and may be forced to emigrate. Many have great qualifications but cab not use their skills in their country.

  2. Unfortunately more often all around Europe there is observed tendency that young people with good educational background are not able to find a job or the one that satisfy them. Portugal is not an exception and it should provide some realistic solutions for this serious problem.

  3. I totally agree with hanna, thats why i think that the government should design a program wich connects the graduated right away with a company. For example during their study the should be able to do internship in a company and after the internship maybe get a change to work at the same comapny after they are graduated.

  4. I think that with labour market like this nothing can work as it should. When people aren´t secure with their jobs, or have no working contracts, they won´t be probably very interestred neither in the company and it´s good results. I mean they cannot be so motivated to do their best. It can also encourage brain drain, so no wonder there´s a low labour productivity in Portugal

  5. As ieva11 already mentioned, more and more european states have the same problem regarding the youth unemployment rate. On the one hand this is an effect of the economic crisis. But on the other hand this is also the work of unrealistic requirements of our companies. Nowadays, companies ask for young people, who are of course not older than 25, with a master’s degree and at least 3 year job-experience. I mean, is this realistic? No wonder, why young people cant find or stop seeking for a job! I also agree with hannah and dado. I think, the government and the universities/schools should together design programs, which connect students right away with the real working environment. On the one side, students could gain lots of work-experience and on the other side they could make their first connections to the working environment.

  6. This is a very unfair system in operation in Portugal. These graduates have spent thousands on college degrees and come out of university with no jobs on offer to them. This will have a very damaging effect on the individuals and the country. Although temporary work is of more benefit to an individual than no work at all it will still be very hard to leave the position after only a few months and begin to look for more work elsewhere. The Portugal government will need to work hard to come up with a plan to fix this problem and fast!!

  7. A job without a contract is impossible in Germany even the so called 400 Euro jobs having a contract. It is terrible that so many young people (if you consider 34-year-olds as young) are forced to stay with their parents. It is sad how the labour market in terms of contracts changed. It seems like they always have to live with insecurity. How will you plan your life when you are not able to get a secured job! I totally agree that the government has to reform their labour market. I know how it feels when you are treated different on a labour market just because you are young. How will you be motivated when you are not satisfied with your working conditions! I think when the companies do not change the way of treating their employees they will not get the best out of them. For that reason the productivity is not as high as it could be.

  8. Very interesting article, i think that such a situation, for example, in Greece, Spain and etc.. In countries where the economic situation is not good, but there is a well-developed tourism. Because temporary jobs are typically for a summer job. In addition, temporary jobs are also easier for employers because they do not have to pay such a big fees.
    So at this time is a logical solution, which in my opinion will not change until the economic situation improves in these countries.


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