Spain: Working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Job quality,
  • Published on: 18 Prosinec 2013



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Spanish young people are currently subject to a very difficult situation as far as their access to labour market is concerned. One out of two Spanish youngsters who want to gain access to the labour market cannot find any job, where this difficulty is higher the younger and the less qualified are the individuals. Subsequently, once they are able to find a job, this is usually in the commerce and HORECA sectors, and it is characterised by being temporary and with little prospects of career progression, where the risk of losing the job is perceived as high (specially amongst the very young individuals). All these elements have deteriorated since 2008. By way of contrast, wages, health conditions or social elements (i.e. support from colleagues, working environment) are perceived as positive by Spanish young workers. Prospects for the future of the youth employment seem gloomy, unless the current economic crisis is finally surpassed.

Block 1: General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national research/studies) on a number of working conditions-related variables specifically related to young entrants to the labour market in comparison to other age groups. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified in relation to other age groups, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

1.1 Career and employment security issues

To begin with, this section presents some general data about the Spanish labour market. An interesting source is the Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA), a trimestral research from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), which interviews approximately 60,000 families (i.e. around 180,000 persons), in order to get data from the labour force (occupied, unemployed…). According to the Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA), in 2012 there were a total of 2,565,700 occupied persons between 16 and 29 years of age, which means 14.8% of the total occupied population (that is, 17,282,000 persons). With regard to the unemployed, in 2012 there were 1,767,400 unemployed aged 16 to 29, that is, 30.6% of the total 5,769,000 Spanish unemployed. According to these figures, the unemployment rate for the age group from 16 to 29 was 40.8% notably superior to the national average for all ages (25%).

Concerning employment status and working time, the Labour Force Survey (EPA) provides some interesting data for the year 2012. As the next table shows, 24.3% of the occupied aged 16 to 29 worked part-time (well above the 14.7% of all Spanish occupied, including all ages). Meanwhile, almost half of the salaried between 16 and 29 years of age (47.7%) have a temporary contract, reflecting a great job insecurity, much higher than the already elevated general average for all ages (23.6%).

Table 1. Working time and type of contract. Total and aged 16-29. 2012.
 

Number

(in thousand people)

% (over total)

Occupied working part-time    

Total (all ages)

2,548.4

14.7%

Aged 16 - 29

624.5

24.3%

Salaried with a temporary contract    

Total (all ages)

3,364.6

23.6%

Aged 16-29

1,116.4

47.7%

Source: Active Population Survey (EPA). Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE)

Concerning the labour situation of the occupied workers, it is remarkable to look at the data collected by the Labour Force Survey (EPA) for the third quarter of 2012. This data shows that 16.9% of all the occupied (including all ages) work as self-employed (with or without employees), whereas only 7.5% of the occupied aged 16 to 29 are self-employed. By way of contrast, youngsters are more likely to be salaried, so data show that 90.8 % of the young occupied are salaried, in contrast with 82.2% of all the occupied on average (data for the third quarter of 2012).

It is also interesting to look to a particular research carried out by the Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas (IVIE) which is focused on young Spanish people (between 16 and 30 years old) who have entered the Spanish labour market for the first time in the last five years before the survey was conducted. The Report has been conducted by IVIE for the Bancaja Foundation, and it analyses the access of youngsters to the labour market. The publication of the report started in 1996 analysing exclusively the Valencian Community, and it has been carried out every 3 years since then. It has progressively included more cities and areas, and in its last edition (2011) it includes the whole of Spain, for which the research used a sample of 2,000 individuals aged 16-30.

The main results obtained in the latest report carried out in 2011 called “Crisis Económica e Inserción Laboral de los Jóvenes 2011” (Economic Crisis and Labour Insertion of Youngsters 2011) show that 55.2% of the Spanish young entering the labour market (YELM) in 2011 had a temporary contract, whereas 6.8% had no contract at all, 32.9% had a permanent contract and 3.4% entered the labour market as self-employed. Meanwhile, 31.3% of Spanish YELM entered the labour market on a part-time basis. Interestingly, with regard to the type of the enterprise, 79.4% of YELM access the labour market via a private enterprise, typically a very small enterprise with less than 50 employees (64.6% of YELM initiate their working lives in such small enterprises).

On the other hand, the 2011 Working Conditions Survey, published by the Spanish National Institute of Health and Hygiene at Work (INSHT) informs about how occupied workers perceive their own working conditions. The research is based on a sample of 8,892 occupied workers, who have been personally interviewed at their domiciles, with a questionnaire composed by 62 questions. This survey presents some interesting data related to career and employment security issues disaggregated by age (age ranges available include 16-34, 16-24 and 25-34). According to this source, it is worth noting that 10.8% of the occupied aged 16 to 34 have a non-voluntary part-time job, in contrast with 7.3% on average.

Moreover, concerning the perceived risk to lose employment, the 2011 Working Conditions Survey shows that young occupied consider that their risk is higher than average. Thus, 56.4% of the occupied aged 16 to 34 believe that their risk to lose their employment is high, in contrast with 51.4% for all the occupied on average.

Table 2. Perceived risk to lose employment. Total and aged 16-34, 16-24 and 25-34 (in %). 2011.
 

Average (Total)

Aged 16 - 34

Aged 16 - 24

Aged 25 - 34

Low

35.5 %

30.0 %

28.1%

30.3%

Medium

12.9 %

13.4 %

12.9%

13.5%

High

51.4 %

56.4 %

59.0%

56.1%

N/A

0.2 %

0.2 %

0.0%

0.2%

Source: 2011 Working Conditions Survey, Spanish National Institute of Health and Hygiene at Work (INSHT)

Interestingly, the 2010 Survey on Quality of Life at Work, published by the Spanish Ministry of Work and Immigration, includes some data on labour stability by age. Age ranges available are 16 to 24 and 25 to 29. According to this information, the percentage of occupied workers looking for another job is much higher among youngsters (22.7% for the aged 16 to 24, and 20.6% for the aged 25 to 29) doubling the average (11.4%). Following this trend, the percentage of occupied workers who consider it quite or very probable to keep their current jobs in the next semester is lower amongst youngsters (72.6% for the aged 16 to 24, 81.2% for the aged 24-29) than the average (86.2%).

By way of contrast, the research carried out by the IVIE Report shows that Spanish young entering the labour market experienced in 2011 a ‘moderate’ level of labour insecurity, in particular, 2.60 on a scale from 1 (no perceived security) to 5 (very high level of perceived insecurity). In this line, YELM show relatively low levels of propensity to quit their current job (2.08) on a scale from 1 (very low propensity) to 5 (very high propensity).

Finally, and concerning compensations, the Spanish YELM seem relatively satisfied with the ‘monetary’ and ‘non-monetary’ compensations received from their job in 2011. Thus, 54.8% of them suggested in 2011 that these compensations are in line with what they expected, whereas 21.8% suggested that these compensations are better or much better than expected (only 23.4% say that these compensations are worse or much worse than expected) (see IVIE Report).

1.2 Skills development

With regard to training activities, it is possible to look at the data published by the Tripartite Foundation, the state entity in charge of promoting and coordinating the execution of public policies in the field of Continuing Training. According to the data presented by the report ‘Continuous training activities in Companies; profile of participants’, the total number of participants in continuous training actions carried out by companies and financed by the Tripartite Foundation in 2011 was 2,986,493 people. According to this data, 6.7% of the participants in training actions were aged 16 to 25 (201,267 in total), 34.1% were aged 26 to 35 (1,017,737 participants in total), 33.7% were aged 36 to 45 (1,007,214), 20% were aged 46 to 55 (598,107) and 5.4% were aged more than 55 (161,742). As a whole, the majority of the participants are in the age range 26-45. Aggregating by large age groups, 40.8% of the participants in training actions were aged 16 to 35 (1,219,004 in total), whereas participants aged 36 to 55 counted up to 53.7% of the total (1,605,321 participants in total). Considering than young people aged 16-35 amount to just a 31.6% of the total occupied population (Spanish Labour Force Survey, EPA), this data reflect a relatively high rate of participation of young workers in continuing training activities

On the other hand, it is worth commenting on the results of the report published by the IVIE Report, which shows that 45.7% of young people entering the labour market would be ready to accept a job for which their required qualification levels would be below their real qualification levels. In fact, the problem of overqualification affected to 26.2% of the YELM in 2011, where this percentage is higher of course amongst people with higher levels of studies. By way of contrast, 70.2% of YELM believe that their level of education is adequate to the work they are conducted.

1.3 Health and well being

Concerning health and well being at work, one of the most convenient sources of information is the 2011 Working Conditions Survey. According to the data included in the table, young occupied aged 16 to 34 perceive that their overall health condition is good or very good in 88.6% of the cases, slightly above 82.4% on average. Meanwhile, 1.5% of the youngsters surveyed consider their health condition to be bad or very bad, whereas this perception goes up to 2.9% for the total (that is, including all ages). With regard to the number of work accidents, the disaggregation of data by age does not show great differences. More precisely, 7.3% of the occupied between 16 and 34 years of age said to have suffered from a work accident in the last 2 years, in contrasts with 7.5% on average.

Table 3. Health condition, work accidents, physical effort and co-workers’ support. Total and aged 16-34, 16-24 and 25-34 (in %). 2011.
 

Average (Total)

Aged 16 - 34

Aged 16 - 24

Aged 25 - 34

Overall Health Condition        

Good/very good

82.4 %

88.6 %

93.5 %

87.8 %

Medium

14.7 %

9.8 %

6.1 %

10.4 %

Bad/very bad

2.9 %

1.5 %

0.4 %

1.7 %

Work accidents        

% of occupied who suffered a work accident in the last 2 years

7.5 %

7.3 %

4.4 %

7.8 %

Physical effort        

Low

71.6 %

69.4 %

68.7 %

69.5 %

Medium

13.7 %

14.4 %

16.7 %

14.0 %

High

14.7 %

16.2 %

14.6 %

16.5 %

Support from co-workers        

Frequently / Always

71.8 %

77.5 %

78.1 %

77.4 %

Sometimes

7.8 %

7.9 %

8.9 %

7.7 %

Rareley / Never

6.2 %

4.4 %

3.5 %

4.6 %

Not needed

14.2 %

10.2 %

9.4 %

10.3 %

Source: 2011 Working Conditions Survey, Spanish National Institute of Health and Hygiene at Work (INSHT)

On the other hand, 16.2% of the young occupied consider that their physical effort at work is high, not much higher the average including all ages (14.7%). Finally, concerning support from co-workers, occupied aged 16 to 34 seem to receive some more support than older occupied. In particular, young occupied perceive that they always or frequently get support in 77.5% of the cases, in contrast with 71.8% on average.

Finally, looking at the IVIE Report on the Spanish YELM, this group of workers experienced an intermediate level of work-related stress in 2011, measured as a ratio of 2.83 on a scale from 1 (very low levels) to 5 (very high levels). On the other hand, Spanish YELM perceived in 2011 a relatively low level of clarity about their working role and job functions, in the sense that they value this as a 2.02 on an scale from 1 (very unclear roles) to 5 (very clear roles). Furthermore, the Spanish YELM seem also relatively well satisfied with their jobs, both with the ‘social’ and the ‘intrinsic’ elements. As far as the ‘social’ elements are concerned (relationships with colleagues, suppliers, clients, supervisors, prestige of the work), the average level of satisfaction is 3.75 on a scale from 1 (low level of satisfaction) to 5 (high level of satisfaction). Meanwhile, the satisfaction of Spanish YELM with the ‘intrinsic’ elements of their job is also relatively high (3.69) on the same scale from 1 (low level of satisfaction) to 5 (high level of satisfaction).

1.4 Reconciliation of working and non-working life

Concerning working time and reconciliation of working and non-working life, data from the 2011 Working Conditions Survey does not reflect great differences according to age ranges. The level of concern with regard to working time is high for 18.7% of the occupied aged 16 to 34, in contrast with a bit lower 15.5% on average. Additionally, 76.8% of the occupied between 16 and 34 years of age are (very) satisfied with their work life balance, whereas the average is only slightly higher (77.2%). Regarding the extension of the working day, occupied aged 16 – 34 are less likely to work extra-hours. In any case, when youngsters’ working day is extended, they always receive a compensation in 14.8% of the cases (versus 13.1% on average), or they receive a compensation at least some times in 9.8% of the cases (versus 8.8% on average).

Table 4. Concern about working time, work life balance and working day extension. Total and aged 16-34. 2011.
 

Average (Total)

Aged 16 - 34

Level of worry/concern about working time    

Low

72.8 %

67.5 %

Medium

11.7 %

13.7 %

High

15.5 %

18.7 %

Adaptation between social commitments and working time    

% of occupied Satisfied/ very satisfied with work life balance

77.2 %

76.8 %

Extension of the working day    

Yes, always with compensation

13.1 %

14.8 %

Yes, sometimes with compensation

8.8 %

9.8 %

Yes, without compensation

18.2 %

16.5 %

No

59.0 %

58.1 %

N/a

0.9 %

0.7 %

Source: 2011 Working Conditions Survey, Spanish National Institute of Health and Hygiene at Work (INSHT)

Finally, 2010 Survey on Quality of Life at Work includes data on the satisfaction level of the occupied with work life balance. According to information available, the average level is 6.8, whereas by age range, satisfaction levels are very similar (6.8 for occupied aged 16 to 24, 7.1 for the aged 25 to 29 and 6.7 for the aged 30 to 44).

Block 2: Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market, for a series of variables. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

2.1 Personal characteristics of young entrants

According to data presented by the Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA), in 2012, out of the total of 2,565,700 occupied people between 16 and 29 years of age, 3.2% were aged 16 to 19, 29.2% were aged 20 to 24 and 67.5% were aged 25 to 29. From a gender perspective, the proportion of men among the young occupied was slightly higher (51% of men and 49% of women).

Concerning unemployment rates, it is remarkable that they are much higher the younger the workers are. According to data from the Spanish Labour Force Survey, in 2012 the average unemployment rate for the whole Spanish labour market was 25%, whereas this rate decreased as age increased: 72.7% for the aged 16 to 19, 49.1% for the aged 20 to 24, and 32.2% for the aged 25 to 29.

As well as this, it is worth looking at unemployment rates by educational levels and age. The trend showing that the lower the age range, the higher the unemployment rate, is kept, but it can be noted that rates decrease as the educational level increases. For instance, concerning the collective who has only passed the primary education, the overall unemployment rate (including all ages) is 37.5%, whereas the rate for the aged 16 to 29 is 81.0%, for the aged 20 to 24, 63.3%, and for the aged 25 to 29, 52.1%. Moreover, for those with upper secondary education, the average unemployment rate is 24.6%, and by age range, the rate is 63.5% for the aged 16 to 19, 48.1% for the aged 20 to 24, and 30.1% for the aged 25 to 29.

On the other hand, with regard to working time and type of contract, data from the EPA shows that the lower the age range, the higher the probability of working part time and of having a temporary contract. More precisely, 47.7% of the occupied aged 16 to 19 work part-time, whereas this percentage goes down to 34.3% for the occupied aged 20 to 24, and decreases also for the occupied aged 25 to 29 to 18.9%. The trend is similar concerning the salaried under a temporary contract. Thus, 83.0% of the salaried aged 16 to 19 have a temporary contract, whereas the percentage of temporary contracts is 60.3% among salaried aged 20 to 24 and 40.7% among salaried aged 25 to 29.

Table 5. Working time and type of contract, by age (Absolute numbers and percentages) 2012.
 

Number (in thousand people)

% (over age range total)

Occupied working part-time    

All ages (total)

2,548.4

14.7 %

Occupied 16 - 19

39.7

47.7 %

Occupied 20 - 24

256.8

34.3 %

Occupied 25 - 29

328.0

18.9 %

Salaried with a temporary contract    

All ages (total)

3,364.6

23.6 %

Salaried 16 - 19

59.6

83.0 %

Salaried 20 - 24

414.5

60.3 %

Salaried 25 - 29

642.3

40.7 %

Source: Active Population Survey (EPA). Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE)

Concerning the labour situation, looking at the data for the third quarter of 2012 presented by the Spanish Labour Force Survey, the proportion of self-employed is higher as the age range increases: 3.0% for the occupied aged 16 to 19, 6.2% for the occupied aged 20 to 24 and 8.3% for the aged 25 to 29. Interestingly also, the proportion of salaried among occupied aged 16 to 19 (87.3%) is lower than the data corresponding to the other two age ranges (91.0% for the occupied aged 20 to 24, and 90.9% for the occupied aged 25 to 29), mainly due to the high proportion of occupied aged 16 to 19 whose labour situation is qualified as ‘family help’ (that is, 9.8%, in contrast with 2.8% for the occupied aged 20 to 24 and 0.6% for the aged 25 to 29).

On the other hand, concerning data from the 2011 Working Conditions Survey, it is possible to comment on information available for the age ranges 16-24and 25-34. According to data presented in Section 1.1. and Section 1.3., the perceived risk to lose employment is higher amongst the younger occupied. More precisely, 59% of the occupied aged 16 to 24 consider that their risk to lose their employment is high, whereas this percentage is 56.1% among the aged 25 to 34 (and 51.4% on average, including all ages). Concerning other aspects, trends related to age are kept. For instance, the younger the occupied, the better the perception of the general health condition. Similarly, the perception of physical efforts made is lower amongst the youngest occupied. Finally, concerning the support from co-workers, 78.1% of the occupied aged 16-24 consider that they always or frequently always receive support, in contrast with 77.4% of the occupied aged 25 to 34 (and 71.7% on average, including all ages).

2.2 Occupational characteristics

With regard to occupational characteristics of young workers, it has not been possible to find much information or many differences in comparison to other age groups. In any case, it is worth looking at the main economic activities where the presence of workers aged 16 to 29 is especially remarkable. According to data showed by the Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA), 21% of the occupied aged 16 to 29 work in the commerce sector (retail and wholesale), in contrast with 16.3% of all Spanish occupied (including all ages). It is also common that the young occupied work in HORECA sector (11.9% of the occupied aged 16 to 29). On the contrary, the sector where the presence of young workers is less visible in comparison to the overall Spanish labour market, is the Public Administration sector (4.1% for the young occupied, in contrast with 7.6% on average).

On the other hand, and looking at the information collected by the IVIE Report, the most common economic sectors where YELM start their working life are HORECA, Commerce and Other private tertiary sectors (18.4%, 14.4% and 23.5%, respectively). The characteristics of this real entrance into the labour market are slightly different to the ‘ideal’ situation Spanish YELM would prefer. In this sense, the most striking example refers to the high percentage of Spanish YELM (56.6% of them) who would like to work in the public sector in comparison to 14.5% that would like to work in the private sector (an additional 28.9% is indifferent on the question).

Block 3: Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis

NCs are kindly requested to provide information on the following items: NCs are kindly requested to provide information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions amongst the group of young entrants to the labour market in comparison to the situation five years ago. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

3.1 Please provide information on the evolution of working conditions of young labour entrants in the last five years. Have working conditions of this group improved/deteriorated in comparison to the existing situation five years ago (before the economic crisis began)? What are the reasons for these changes

Concerning the evolution of working conditions among young workers, it is worth highlighting that they have been the most affected collective by the employment destruction derived from the crisis. The fact that generally lay-off compensations to be paid by companies are comparatively lower in the case of young workers has certainly an influence on this trend. Not surprisingly, looking at data from the IVIE Report, Spanish YELM perceive a bad situation of the labour market. Therefore, only 21.4% of respondents argue to have a positive or very positive perception of the situation of the Spanish labour market in 2011. Obviously enough, this perception has deteriorated in comparison to 2008.

Data from the Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA) shows that unemployment rates have extraordinarily grown in the period 2007-2012. In particular, the overall unemployment rate in Spain in the year 2007 was 8.3%, and it soared to 25% in 2012. Similarly, the unemployment rate among those aged 16 to 19 increased from 28.7% in 2007 to 72.7% in 2012. Moreover, the unemployment rate for the group aged 20 to 24 increased from 15.1% to 49.1%, and for the group aged 25 to 29, it augmented from 9.2% to 32.2%.

Regarding the type of contract, it can be observed that between 2007 and 2012 the proportion of temporary contracts has decreased between 2007 and 2012. This is an effect of the economic crisis, given that employment destruction has particularly affected workers with temporary contracts. Thus, in 2007 51.7% of the contracts of the salaried aged 16 to 29 were temporary contracts, but this percentage decreased to 47.7 in 2012. Concerning working time, the proportion of occupied working part time has increased between 2007 and 2012, due to decreasing workloads. Looking at the 16 to 29 age range, in 2007 15.5% of the occupied were working part time, whereas this proportion went up to 24.3% in 2012.

Table 6. Temporary contracts and part-time, by age (total and aged 16-29). 2007- 2012.
 

% of salaried with a temporary contract

% of occupied working part time

2007

2012

2007

2012

Total

31.7%

23.6%

11.8%

14.7%

16 -29

51.7%

47.7%

15.5%

24.3%

Source: Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA). Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE)

With regard to labour situation, the Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA) shows that the proportion of self-employed among occupied aged 16 to 29 has increased slightly from 7% to 7.5% between the third quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2012, whereas the percentage of salaried has decreased from 91.4% to 90.8%. In this regard, a possible conclusion would be that under a crisis context and with high unemployment rates, the option of becoming self-employed has turned into a more likely option for youngsters.

On the other hand, regarding data from the Working Conditions Survey for the years 2007 and 2011, it can be observed that the perceived risk to lose employment was much lower in 2007 (25% of the occupied aged 16 to 34 considered this risk to be high) than in 2011 (56.4%). Concerning work accidents, differences by age are not especially remarkable, but it is worth noting that the amount of occupied who suffered a work accident in the last two years considerably decreased between 2007 and 2011, mainly as a consequence of having a much lower workload, and probably also due to a more preventive Health and Safety measures. Regarding the physical effort, in 2007 68% of the occupied aged 16 to 34 perceived that their work implied a low physical effort, whereas this proportion increased slightly to 69.4% in 2011. Additionally, with regard to the support offered by co-workers, the percentage of occupied aged 16 to 34 who think that the can always or frequently receive support has augmented between 2007 and 2011, from 71.5% to 77.5%.

Table 7. Perceived risk to lose employment, work accidents, and support from co-workers. Total and aged 16-34. 2007 and 2011.
 

2007

2011

 

Average (Total)

Aged 16 - 34

Average (Total)

Aged 16 - 34

Perceived risk to lose employment        

Low

64.8%

60.1%

35.5%

30.0%

Medium

12.3%

13.9%

12.9%

13.4%

High

21.9%

25.0%

51.4%

56.4%

n/a

0.9%

1.0%

0.2%

0.2%

Work accidents        

% of occupied who suffered a work accident in the last 2 years

10.6%

10.5%

7.50%

7.3%

Physical effort        

Low

66.3%

68.0%

71.6%

69.4%

Medium

15.9%

15.5%

13.7%

14.4%

High

16.8%

15.6%

14.7%

16.2%

Support from co-workers        

Frequently/ Always

67.3%

71.5%

71.8%

77.5%

Sometimes

11.1%

11.7%

7.8%

7.9%

Rarely / Never

5.8%

5.3%

6.2%

4.4%

Not needed

14.9%

10.7%

14.2%

10.2%

Source: Working Conditions Survey, 2007 and 2011, Spanish National Institute of Health and Hygiene at Work (INSHT)

Concerning data from the IVIE Report, and regarding labour insecurity, this ratio has experienced a significant increase from 2.18 in 2008 to 2.60 in 2011 (in a scale from 1 to 5). Additionally, the ratio of propensity to quit their current job has experienced a downward trend, from 2.24 in 2008 to 2.08 in 2011.

Finally, regarding the number of participants in companies’ continuous training actions from the Tripartite Foundation, it is possible to compare data between the years 2009 and 2011. According to data available, in 2009 46.5% of the participants were aged 16-35 (48.8% of the participants were between 36 and 55 years old), whereas in 2011 the proportion of youngsters decreased to 40.8% (and the proportion of participants aged 36 to 55 increased to 53.7%). In any case, and looking at absolute numbers, the amount of participants increased for all age ranges (just from 1,125,204 to 1,219,004 for the aged 16 to 35, and from 1,182,664 to 1,605,321 for the aged 36 to 55).

3.2 Based on possible existing prospective studies, please provide information on the expected evolution of employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants in your country in the near future (coming 2-3 years)

There is very limited information on prospective studies on the future likely evolution of youth employment in the coming years. In this regard, the Central Bank of Spain has recently published its March Economic Bulletin where the Institution presents its main expectations on the evolution the Spanish economy and labour market for the coming 12 months. Unfortunately enough, the existing expectations are very gloomy, in the sense that the Bank of Spain foresees a reduction of the Spanish GDP by 1.5 for this year, which will result in a further increase of total unemployment rate up to 27.1%, where the unemployment rate for youth would double this figure.

In this regard, expectations for youth employment levels in the coming years are very negative, which is reflected in several data:

  • The Foundation SM did elaborate a report called “Jóvenes españoles 2010” (Spanish youngsters 2010). The results of this study are based on the 4,016 questionnaires filled in by youngsters aged 15-24, which assess a series of issues such as social and political integration, family, consumption habits, etc. According to this report, 46.3% of the Spanish youngsters (15-24 years old)) declares a “lack of confidence in the future”. Also, six out of ten Spanish youngsters argue that the current economic crisis will have a “very negative” effect on their professional and personal future, so they do expect to have a much worse future than their parents.

  • According to the results provided by the “Censo Electoral de Españoles residentes en el extranjero, CERA) (Electoral Census of Spaniards residing abroad), in 2012 there were a total of 1,6591,639 enrolled in this census, that is to say a 5.5% more as last year and nearly a 28.6% more in comparison to 2008. Therefore, Spain is a net sender of emigrants, where a large part of them correspond to well qualified young people who decide to try find a job somewhere else, usually in Europe (mainly United Kingdom, Germany and France) and America. These youngsters are in general educated people, often with university degrees in domains such as medicine and health specialities, engineering and computing specialists. However, there are no comprehensive studies and data on this issue so far.

It is not therefore strange the importance that the “indignados” movement took in Spain some time ago. This movement mobilised youth across the country in protest against the handling of the economic crisis by the political establishment and the ensuing catastrophic rise of youth unemployment, reflecting the younger generation’s sense of alienation and economic and social exclusion.

Block 4: Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

4.1 Identify main recent national measures/initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by public authorities in order to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for young entrants to the labour market.

From the discussions held in previous sections of this contribution, it is clear that high unemployment levels amongst young people is currently one of the main problems of the Spanish labour market as a whole. In this regard, the national government has recently launched the Royal Law Decree 4/2013 of last 22nd February on policy measures for entrepreneurs and support to economic growth and employment creation. This Royal Law Decree establishes, amongst other measures, the Spanish Strategy on Entrepreneurship and Young Employment 2013-2016, intended to reduce the current Spanish youth unemployment levels, either via self employment or via salaried employment. This document has been drafted in line with the recommendations established by the European Commission on youth employment. Also, the document has been preliminarily consulted with the main social partners (although they are critical with this point, as it will be shown later on).

The main measures included in this Royal Decree can be summarised as follows:

  • Several measures are adopted to support self-employment activities by young people under 30 years old. Amongst them, a new reduced Social Contribution quota is foreseen for this collective, the harmonisation of the unemployment benefit with the starting up of an enterprise as self-employed, with an increase in the possibilities to capitalise unemployment benefits (one-shot pay) for starting up a new enterprise.

  • A new tax framework is foreseen for any self-employed that start-ups an entrepreneurial activity, so to reduce the tax burden in the early years of the new business and incentivise the setting up of new enterprises. Thus, as far as the Corporate Tax is concerned, a reduced tax ratio of 15% is foreseen for the initial 300,000 Euro of taxable base, and the 20% for any figure above this. In line with this, the Personal Income Tax establishes a new reduction 20% on those returns of any enterprise initiated during the first year where these positive returns are obtained. Also within the Personal Income Tax, the currently existing limit for the exemption in the unemployment benefits perceived as one-shot payments is eroded.

  • Also, a number of policy initiatives are included in order to foster the involvement of young workers in enterprises belonging to the Social Economy sector, as well as the hiring of young unemployed people (basically via bonuses in Social Security contributions). In this regard, several incentives are foreseen to foster the hiring of part-time young people with a training compromise by the enterprise, the indefinite hiring of young people by microenterprises and self-employed workers and, finally, the hiring of first employment youngsters in training practices.

  • Concerning labour intermediation, a number of measures to foster this domain. For this purpose, it is foreseen that all regional Employment Public Services register every existing job offer and demand in the database of the Information System of the Public Employment Services, so all the information is made available for citizens, enterprises and public administration (a kind of Single Employment Portal) with respect to the market unity.

As it can be seen, the priority behind these measures is the creation of employment (often self-employment) for young (and mature) people, but without a real focus on working conditions of young entrants. Partially due to this, this Royal Decree and the measures included have been criticised by the main Spanish Trade Unions (Unión General de Trabajadores, UGT and Commisiones Obreras, CCOO) in a common Communiqué. Thus, the main criticism refers to the fact that the Royal Decree has included a number of measures that have not been neither initially consulted nor discussed with social partners. Examples include the bonus to the Social Security contributions for the hiring of young people by Insertion Enterprises, the existing bonuses for temporary and not permanent hiring of young people or the possibility for Temporary Agency Work (TAW) Enterprises to carry out training contracts (an issue that implies a deep modification of the conditions under which TAW enterprises operate in Spain).

As an alternative, both Trade Unions have presented a comprehensive proposal to facilitate an effective insertion of Spanish young people in the labour market (Propuesta de UGT y CCOO a la estrategia española de emprendimiento y empleo joven 2012/2015). For this purpose, this proposal suggests measures in three main domains of education, labour market and social issues. Examples of these measures include, for instance, the promotion of the stability in employment (establishing percentages of permanent workers within enterprises), support only to enterprises that reduce the percentage of temporary employment, support to the conversion of temporary into permanent contracts. Other suggested measures include further support to the training contract and the contract in practices, support to a real dual vocational training system that may coexist with the existing VET model or an effective support to self-employment measures.

4.2 Identify main recent initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by social partners (either at national, sector or company level) in order to improve working conditions amongst young entrants to the labour market.

One interesting initiative by Spanish social partners in the last years in relation to Youth Employment and associated working conditions is the so-called Observatorio de Empleo Joven (Observatory of Youth Employment), developed by Unión General de Trabajadores, UGT. This Observatory is intended to provide and compile information and analysis on employment issues specifically related to young people, both from a labour, economic and social perspective. Typical elements considered by this Observatory include training and education processes for young people in relation to work, access of young people to the labour market (insertion) and, finally, working and employment conditions of young workers in different productive sectors.

Commentary by the NC

This contribution has shown that the labour situation of Spanish youngsters is very difficult, having experienced an extremely negative trend since the economic crisis started in 2008. Just to give some data, more than one out of two Spanish youngsters are unemployed, where this figure increases the younger the individuals are. Also, once the youngster is employed, he/she is very likely to be in a temporary job and with high perceived risk of losing employment. Finally, existing prospects for the future of the youth employment seem to be gloomy, unless the current economic crisis is finally surpassed. All in all, the Government has recently passed a set of policy measures intended to solve this negative situation, trying to incentivise employment creation, especially for young people, but without a focus on working conditions. This is the case of Royal Law Decree 4/2013, where the priority is to create employment, often self-employment. It is still early to assess the real effects of these measures. However, the fact that working conditions associated to the new employments are not explicitly considered has been criticised by the main Spanish Trade Unions, as potentially having a very negative effect on the quality of jobs to be created.

Jessica Durán, Iñigo Isusi and Antonio Corral, IKEI.

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