Youth employment policies - S. Petkovic/ Seminar on youth transition to work and labour life September 2014
Key facts and recent policy measures
EYC Budapest, September 2014
Youth unemployment trends in the EU
• Youth unemployment rates are generally much higher than
unemployment rates for all ages.
• The economic crisis has affected the young more than other
age groups: more than30% of unemployed young people are
long-term unemployed, that 7.5million young Europeans
aged 15-24 are not in employment, education or training (the
so-called ‘NEET’s), as well as that young people are over-
represented in temporary and part-time work.
• Disparities in youth unemployment rates between member
states remain high.
Facts and figures
• In September 2013, 5.584 million young people (under 25)
were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 3.548 million were in
the euro area. Compared with September 2012 youth
unemployment decreased by 57,000 in the EU28, but
increased by 8,000 in the euro area. In September 2013, the
youth unemployment rate was 23.5% in the EU28 and 24.1%
in the euro area, compared with 23.1% and 23.6%
respectively in September 2012. In September 2013, the
lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.7%) and Austria
(8.7%), and the highest in Greece (57.3% in July 2013), Spain
(56.5%) and Croatia (52.8% in the third quarter of 2013).
• Comparative data: in 2011 almost 30% of European youth
were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, as opposed to
24.2% for the entire population. The risk of being working
poor is higher in the southern European countries such as
Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as in some new
Member States, including Poland and the Baltic countries.
Eurostat, People at Risk of Poverty of Social Exclusion
• The ‘at risk’ groups of being working poor are closely related
to those who are at risk of not being in employment,
education or training (the NEETs).
Discrimination on the labour market?
• A secured minimum income that allows for a dignified and
autonomous life is a core element of quality jobs for young
people across Europe.
• The imposition and reinforcement of a lower minimum wage
for young people, irrespective of working experience or
capability, has been understood not only as a flagrant
disregard for the most vulnerable demographic group on the
labour market, but also as an evidence of discrimination on
the basis of age (European Youth Forum 2013).
• Under the European Employment Strategy, employment is
central to the European Semester process to promote closer
policy coordination between Member State governments.
The European Commission's Employment Packageof April
2012 proposes measures to support job creation, restore the
dynamics of labour markets and reinforce coordination and
multilateral surveillance in employment policy. The package
also supports the objectives of Europe's growth strategy
Europe 2020 (Eurofound, 2013).
Initiatives of the EU
• The European Commission has launched several initiatives to
tackle the steadily increasing numbers of young people out of
• The Youth Opportunities Initiative(2011) aiming to help
young people who are not in work, education or training by
providing the means for them to acquire skills and experience
(through a return to school, entry to training, or work
experience including volunteering).
• It supports unemployed and inactive young people to get into
stable work or training by encouraging better targeting of
funds, boosting apprenticeships and traineeships, and
promoting youth mobility.
Initiatives of the EU
The Youth Employment Package(2012):
• Youth Guarantee schemes: to help ensure that all young
people under 25 get a quality offer of employment,
continued education, an apprenticeship or traineeship within
four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed.
• Youth Employment Initiative: EU funding to support young
people in regions where youth unemployment rates are
• Quality traineeships and apprenticeships: to improve the
transition form school to work.
• Labour mobility: making it easier for young Europeans to find
a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in another EU country.
• A new approach to tackling youth unemployment which ensures that all
young people under 25 – whether registered with employment services
or not – get a good-quality, concrete offer within 4 months of them
leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.
• The good-quality offer should be for a job, apprenticeship, traineeship,
or continued education and be adapted to each individual need and
• EU countries endorsed the principle of the Youth Guarantee in April 2013.
Youth Guarantee schemes are to be implemented by the EU Member
States at relevant levels of governance (national, regional, local).
How it works?!
• Developing and delivering a Youth Guarantee scheme requires strong
cooperation between all the key stakeholders: public authorities,
employment services, career guidance providers, education & training
institutions, youth support services, business, employers, trade unions,
• Supporting measures: strong partnerships between all stakeholders, early
intervention and activation, supportive measure enabling labour market
integration, full use of EU Structural Funds (ESF), assessment and
continuous improvement of the schemes, and swift implementation.
• Early intervention and activation are key and, in many cases, reforms are
needed, such as improving vocational education and training systems.
• EU countries are currently developing
national Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans.
• The Commission also facilitates the sharing of best practices between
governments, in particular through
the European Employment Strategy Mutual Learning Programme.
• 18 Youth Guarantee pilot projects were launched between August and
December 2013 and each run for around 12 months. These projects are
currently being implemented in seven countries: Ireland, Italy, Lithuania,
Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. The aim of the projects
is to provide Member States with practical relevant experience for
implementing their national Youth Guarantee schemes and for related
actions using the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative.
• The EU Member States have presented national Youth Guarantee
Implementation Plans, and their implementation is now starting.
• The European Commission monitors implementation of the Youth
Guarantee within theEuropean Semester.
So far so good?!
• Commission reviews 18 pilot projects (09/09/2014).
• Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor:
"The Youth Guarantee is a structural reform which requires Member
States to improve their youth employment policy on all levels. The pilot
projects show that this approach works and brings results. The Youth
Guarantee is proving to be the most rapidly implemented EU structural
reform. The Commission directly works with all Member States to ensure
the full and rapid implementation of the Youth Guarantee."
Examples of (good) practice
• ‘Success story’: Finland has developed a comprehensive Youth Guarantee
scheme. A Eurofound evaluation found that, in 2011, 83.5% of young job
seekers received a successful offer within 3 months of registering as
unemployed. The Finnish scheme has led to personalised plans for young
people being drawn up more quickly, ultimately lowering unemployment.
• The Youth Guarantee was nothing new. The scheme was put in place in
2005 to assist people under 25 who have finished their studies but have
still not found a job or further training. The scheme’s scope was increased
in 2013 to all people under 30.
• What about the others (Greece)?!
• For an overview of similar national initiatives, see the Commission
working document (in 22 EU languages).
Apprenticeship and traineeship programmes
• The Traineeships should increase the employability of young people and
be stepping stones towards regular employment if they are of good
quality in terms of learning content and adequate working conditions.
• The EU is supporting Member States to develop high quality
apprenticeship and traineeship programmes to: make the school-to-work
transition easier, equip young people with the right skills and experience
for sustainable employment.
• The advice service on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes is
available until the end of 2014 and provides: Helpdesk, Research into
apprenticeship and traineeship programmes, Events, Join the LinkedIn
• The perspective and action of the European social partners.