Youth Unemployment in the EU

Youth Unemployment in the EU

The Youth Unemployment is currently one of the biggest problems in the EU. 5,7 million of the people under the age of 25 who live in the EU-member states were unemployed at the end of 2012. This is more than 23% of all the young people who live in the EU (Spiegel, 2013). Especially young people who live in the southern countries of the European Union have no job. The highest youth unemployment rate has Greece with 58,40%, followed by Spain with 55,7%. These are the only countries in the EU where are more than the halves of the young people unemployed. They are followed by Portugal (38,2%)  and Italy (27,8%) where are more than every third teenager has no job.
The EU-average is 23,50%. The countries with the three lowest youth unemployment rates are: Germany: 7,70%, Austria: 8,90% and the Netherlands: 10,40%  (Statista, 2013).

Reasons for the Youth Unemployment

The reasons for the youth unemployment are very complex and the main reasons are different in every country. The main factors are the current crisis in the EURO-zone, the education and qualification of the young people and the discrepancy between offer and demand on the job markets. Moreover, young people with a migration background are disadvantaged. Not only poorly educated young people have bad opportunities to find a job in the moment. Even well-educated people have problems to find a job through the economic crisis (Caritas, 2013). Another reason for the high youth unemployment rate is that during the crisis more young people lost their job than older people. This is explainable through the fact, that it is easier to resign people which are shorter employed.

Future Perspectives

The objective of the Europe 2020-Strategy, which had been decided by the EU, is to increase the employment rate of the 20-64 year old people to 75%. Moreover, two education objectives have been decided. The first objective is to increase the rate of graduates to 40% and the second is to decrease early school leavers under the rate of 10%. The problem is that these objectives through the economic crisis are tough to reach. Early indicators confirm these problems.  Therefore, the EU decided to start the initiative “Chances for young people”.

The initiative “Changes for young people” is divided in two different measures. The first measure is to introduce the “Youth-Guarantee”-System in the member states where the youth unemployment is higher than 20%. The system should guarantee that young people get a job or an apprenticeship at latest four months after they got unemployed.  Requirements to take part in the system are that the person lives in a member states where the youth unemployment rate is higher than 20%, that the person is currently unemployment and in no apprenticeship. Finally decided was this measure at the 24th of April 2013 (European Parliament, 2013).

The second measure is the pilot project “Your first EURES job” that should support young people by searching for jobs within in the European Union. The first phase of this test is to improve the mobility above the borders for 5.000 young people. Therefore, four labour administrations were founded in Germany, Spain, Denmark and Italy that should support young people to find a job in another country. Moreover, the labour administrations encourage the young people with money for language courses, move and the journey to job interviews (Caritas, 2013).

Regarding the youth unemployment in Europe, you can find an interesting infographic under this article which was released by the European Parliament.

Written by Carl-Frederic Korn, Yvonne Kohaus and Hasan Can Acar

Infographic: Youth Unemployment in the EU

Infographic: Youth Unemployment in the EU – Source: European Parliament


Caritas. (2013). Erschreckend viele Jugendliche in Europa sind arbeitslos. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
European Parliament. (2013). Employment MEPs approve plans to help more young people to work or training. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
Spiegel. (2013). Hohe Arbeitslosigkeit: EU beschließt Jobgarantie für Jugendliche. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
Statista. (2013). Youth Unemployment in the EU Feb 2013. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.


12 thoughts on “Youth Unemployment in the EU

  1. The numbers like 50% and more of the unemployed young people are unbelievable! That means, that the freshly educated people are not used by countries, they start to forget all the information learned an the state’s expenses in education are wasted. They don’t have the possibility to gain skills and experiences and the probability to get the job in future gets lower and lower.
    I wish a good luck to the EU to change this problem as soon as possible.

  2. Regarding the fact that it’s easier to resign young people. In addition to this most companies act as the redundancy program in a recession. That means which people have to go depends on their chances how fast they find a new job. So the younger people are in these decisions always worse off because they would find a new job faster than older redundant people. Furthermore, young people are often employed in sectors that are particularly sensitive to the economic development such as the construction sector.

  3. The youth unemployment is really a big problem which should be eliminated as soon as possible. Even if it’s easier said than done.The problem of youth unemployment isn’t a temporary circumstance. It’s rather a fact which will have awful consequences for whole generations.
    In countries like Spain which has a partially youth unemployment rate >50%, large parts of this generation will get grave problems in the future regarding their position on the labour market. This will presumable have impacts of the demografic situation of the country, because you will rather hesitate to raise a family if you’ve already financial problems.

  4. The youth unemployment has too little attention in our society today. If the people describe the biggest problem of the crisis, they say: The high debt have to decrease. Hardly anyone says that it is a disaster if a large part of a generation in Europe has no chance. And this is a big problem where we should work on.

  5. The numbers of the youth unemployment are really incredible. Especially I was shocked to read that 42 % are temporary contracts and 32 % are part-time contracts for the young people. Of course, young people can find a new work placement faster than older ones. But we should not forget that the young people are the generation of tomorrow. If they do not get the possibility to work after their studies, they will lose their high education and qualities. Without any work experience they cannot strengthen their knowledge. So I really hope that the Europe 2020-Strategy and the initiative “Changes for young people” will work. Otherwise we are on the best way to lose a whole generation in some countries and this deficit cannot be fixed in the future. Some countries will then suffer from the consequences and the economy will drop. So give the young people in the European Union a chance to show their working competence.

  6. The youth in Europe is the big loser of the euro crisis and it will probably be a lost generation without future.
    I think the main problem why the youth suffers more and has even higher unemployment rates than older people, can be found in the structure of labour markets. Older people do mostly have unlimited working contracts, enjoy strong employment protection and are entitled to get expensive severance pay.
    Younger people mostly do have (very short) temporary working contracts and can be fired quite easily and fast.
    Two german economists (Prof.Stadtmann and Prof. Hutengs from the “Europe-University Viadrina” in Frankfurt/Oder) have made a research and can demonstrate this connection for several southern countries. The result is very remarkable:
    If the economic output in Italy decreases by one percent, unemployment of older people is increasing by 0.12 % and that of juveniles is raising by 0.61 %. It is five times higher!!
    It is nearly the same result in other southern countries facing a deep crisis: In Spain, youth unemployment is increasing three times stronger in comparison to older employees, if there is a declining economic output. In Greece and Portugal youth unemployment is rising more than four times greater than unemployment of older people in a recession.
    The research of the economists also offers a little hope for the youth in the crisis countries. Youth unemployment responds stronger to economic growth. Unemployed young people will find new jobs faster and better than older job seekers.

  7. Youth unemployment definitely needs to get more attention! If Europe does not make any notable changes, it loses an entire generation. The charts and data have shown that there is a huge difference between the youth unemployment rate in the South of Europe and the Central- and Northern Europe. The high unemployment rate is followed by lack of prospects and can have a negative influence on society. Problematic can be the search for a guilty person and the anger about the fact that there are other countries with a better economy and more jobs. This can be followed by, for example the possible rise of criminality or xenophobia. Two problems that have to be looked at critically.
    To which extend the initiative “Changes for young people” will help the youth unemployment crisis isn’t apparent yet. But the second measure “Your first EURES job” definitely helps to strengthen the European Identity and to work against the last given two problems.

  8. Youth unemployment in the Czech Republic is 19, 5%. The problem of why young people do not have work is that after graduation from university they do not practice. Employers want the graduate degree, but also practice.
    Another problem is that employers do not want to lay off the old workers, because they have the experience and knowledge they have in their field. These young people do not have it and for employers it means everything to learn. It takes up time and money.
    A also extending the retirement. If it will reduce the retirement age, more older people will be able to retire and hand over their jobs younger. In our country, yet the the retirement increases. it means. Youth unemployment will be still high.

  9. I think it is very important to explain to young people that this is a serious political and social problem – and not for the personal failure of individual young people. If an entire generation has great difficulty in entering the labor market, this is not only burden the welfare system. The young people involved have to deal with social exclusion, which can affect their entire lives. The longer you remain unemployed as a young man, the more difficult the integration created into the labor market.

  10. The data of youth unemployment summarizes the situation very well. The data is really high. There are many students who graduate from college in the countries but they do not meet the demands of employment. “Your first EURES job” a project that makes sense for unsikilled youth unemployed. As a result I think this situation will continue for a long time.Because sources of social assistance in these countries is over for to reduce the cost of unemployment..

  11. There are different reasons for the high youth unemployment:
    Youth unemployment rate is more than twice as high as the adult one – 23.3 % against 9.3 % in the fourth quarter of 2012.
    The chances for a young unemployed person of finding a job are low – only 29.7 % of those aged 15-24 and unemployed in 2010 found a job in 2011.
    When young people do work, their jobs tend to be less stable – in 2012, 42.0 % of young employees were working on a temporary contract (four times as much as adults) and 32.0 % part-time (nearly twice the adults’ rate).

  12. Youth unemployment in Croatia in March this year reached 51.6 %. This is the highest rate of youth unemployment in croatian independent history.Hopefully, we can lower our unemployment rate entering in EU but considering this situation in Europe I am not so sure. There is also another problem, study in Croatia showed that this problem will have demographic consequences. Young unemployed people will not think about starting a family if they not have secure jobs, solved accommodation and also satisfying financial situation. Lets hope there is still time to turn things around!


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