Youth

9 Јули 2020

Youth is the term used to describe the period between childhood and adulthoodRead more

Youth is the term used to describe the period between childhood and adulthood. While this may be a fluid definition, it is also used in policy terms to refer to specific age groups. Providing a good environment for young people to grow up, learn and work in is a key goal for Europe and for Eurofound – but one that faces particular challenges. Young people have long been an important focus of policy at EU level and this is particularly true today. 

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Recent updates

Watch the webinar: How COVID-19 affects Europeans and the EU labour market

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Eurofound were pleased to welcome you to their joint webinar on 25 June...

Webinar: #AskTheExpert - The impact of COVID-19 for people living and working in Europe: How can policymakers respond?

Eurofound is organising a webinar on the impact of COVID-19 for people living and working in Europe. How can...

EYE Online - Eurofound panel debate: Being young during the COVID-19 crisis - Impact on work, life and well-being

On Thursday 28 May (17:00), as part of the 2020 online European Youth Event (EYE), Valentina Patrini, Research Officer...

EU context

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Youth employment and issues affecting young people remain high on the EU’s policy agenda and there is strong concern that young people will be among the main victims of the COVID-19 crisis.Read more

Youth employment and issues affecting young people remain high on the EU’s policy agenda and there is strong concern that young people will be among the main victims of the COVID-19 crisis. Having already paid the highest toll of the previous recession, to avoid history repeating itself the European Commission is preparing to launch a reinforced Youth Guarantee that is considered to be a concrete policy instrument to tackle the employment and social consequences of COVID-19. The Commission will devise proposals on fighting youth unemployment and especially adapting the Youth Guarantee. The Youth Employment Initiative and Youth Guarantee are now top priorities.

This new initiative will build on previous actions carried out at European level. The Commission’s 2016 Communication ‘Investing in Europe's Youth’ was a renewed effort to support young people in the form of a Youth Package. The package supports better opportunities to access employment, via the Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative launched in 2013, better opportunities through education and training, as well as better opportunities for solidarity, learning mobility and participation.

As part of this effort, the latest EU Youth Strategy (2019–2027), adopted on 26 November 2018, sets out the framework for cooperation with Member States on their youth policies. Activities are grouped into three main areas of action, around the words ‘Engage’, ‘Connect’ and ‘Empower’.

The new Commission took office in December 2019 and in January 2020 presented its Communication A strong social Europe for just transitions. This prepared the way for an Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights which reiterates the EU’s commitment to the Youth Guarantee. On 1 July 2020, the Commission launched a Youth Employment Support package structured around four strands to provide a ‘bridge to jobs’ for the next generation. The Commission put forward a proposal for a Council Recommendation on ‘A Bridge to Jobs – Reinforcing the Youth Guarantee’, to replace the 2013 Recommendation. This initiative will link in with the needs of companies to provide the skills needed, particularly for the green and digital transitions. It also extends the age range covered by the Youth Guarantee from age 24 to 29. The package also includes a proposal on vocational education and training, a renewed impetus for apprenticeships and additional measures to support youth employment. 

Eurofound’s work on youth issues links in with the Commission’s 2019–2024 priority on an economy that works for people and is highly relevant here.

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European Industrial Relations Dictionary

Research

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Eurofound has carried out a large body of work on youth issues related to employment, quality of life and social cohesion. In light of the economic and social crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic, research continues to look at issues affecting young people in several topic areas, particularlyRead more

Eurofound has carried out a large body of work on youth issues related to employment, quality of life and social cohesion. In light of the economic and social crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic, research continues to look at issues affecting young people in several topic areas, particularly well-functioning and inclusive labour markets, quality of life and quality of society, as well as access to public services.

COVID-19 and its impact on young people

Eurofound launched an EU-wide e-survey in early April 2020 to capture the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the way people live and work across Europe. The first findings are in, and while the disease is evidently having a profound impact on the older generation, young people are again being hard-hit by the social and economic impacts of yet another crisis. The economic fallout following the health crisis is expected to strongly hit youth employment prospects, especially for those just finishing education and entering the labour market. However, other major issues for young people recorded in April 2020, during the lockdown phase of the crisis, are lower levels of mental well-being, higher levels of loneliness, high job loss, a dramatic reduction of working time and uncertainty around the future. Yet trust in national governments and the EU remains higher than other age groups.

On 28 May, Eurofound presented a live session during the European Parliament's biennial Youth Event 2020 to discuss some of the initial results of the survey, focusing on how young people are coping during COVID-19. The major concern is how young people will again be affected by the economic fallout from COVID-19.

The 2008–2013 crisis and jobs

In the aftermath of the 2013–2018 crisis, EU unemployment reached soaring levels, hitting 23.5% for the under-25s and going to even higher levels in individual Member States. With the help of the Young Guarantee and other measures, youth unemployment has made some recovery in recent years. But the questions remain as to where there are jobs and how young people can be helped. A reinforced Youth Guarantee will be crucial here to react to the COVID-19 crisis and to avoid another sharp increase in youth unemployment. Eurofound's research provides a broad range of inputs to developing youth policy, looking at:

  • long-term unemployment youth
  • start-up support for young people
  • youth entrepreneurship in Europe
  • mapping youth transitions in Europe
  • youth and work and policy pointers towards improving it
  • helping young workers during the crisis and the contributions of social partners and public authorities
  • experiences of the Youth Guarantee in Finland and Sweden
  • young people not in employment, education or training.

The focus of research has recently been adapted to examine the effects of COVID-19 on young people in Europe.

NEETs and exclusion

Alongside high unemployment, since 2008 the Member States have been dealing with the disproportionate impact of the recession on young people under 30, even those with higher levels of education. The number of those aged 15–29 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) rose rapidly after 2008, but has been declining again since 2014 returning to pre-crisis levels by 2018. Yet the rates remain high in some Member States, particularly Italy and Greece. Eurofound seeks to understand the economic and social consequences of youth disengagement from the labour market and education.

Research in 2020 will focus on the social situation of young people, particularly NEETs, 10 years after the Great Recession, also examining the impact of the current COVID-19 crisis on young people. It will also look at the implications for young people of the increase in digital solutions.

Some young people face particular difficulties in accessing employment: for example, those who have a disability or other health problem are 40% more likely of becoming NEET than others. A policy of active inclusion is seen as the most appropriate for addressing these difficulties. Eurofound has analysed active inclusion policy for young people with disabilities or health problems in 11 EU Member States.

Youth dimension in Eurofound’s surveys

The youth dimension is relevant across many areas of Eurofound research, including its surveys.

The online survey Living, working and COVID-19 launched in April 2020 offers an interesting insight into the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on various aspects of the lives of Europeans. Organised in two waves (April and June), the survey aims to investigate the impact of the crisis on quality of life and well-being, working conditions and telework, as well as the financial situation of people living in Europe.

The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) 2016 found important differences between age groups in relation to quality of life, social inclusion, the quality of society and access to public services. EQLS data have also been used to compile a policy brief on the social situation of young people in Europe.

The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2010 revealed that some aspects of the working conditions of young workers (under 25) differ considerably from those of older workers. More recently, data taken from the EWCS 2015 has shown that the skills gap between younger and older workers is gradually closing.

Eurofound’s COVID-19 survey used various questions from the EQLS and EWCS, adapting them where necessary for the purpose of the survey.

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Key outputs over the years

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Key messages

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  • Young people have suffered major economic and social consequences as a result of spiralling unemployment since 2008. The economic loss to the EU of having such large numbers of young people outside the labour market and education is estimated at above €153 billion a year.Read more
  • Young people have suffered major economic and social consequences as a result of spiralling unemployment since 2008. The economic loss to the EU of having such large numbers of young people outside the labour market and education is estimated at above €153 billion a year.
  • The 2008–2013 crisis highlighted how young people are more vulnerable to economic recession than other age groups. Youth unemployment soared above 40% in many EU countries, and the share of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) peaked at a historical high of 16% of the entire EU population aged 15–29. 
  • There is high concern among policymakers that young workers will be the next victims of the COVID-19 economic fallout. Eurofound’s COVID-19 survey, launched in April 2020, shows that young people are already grappling with the crisis situation. 
  • Lowest levels of mental well-being are reported among young people and those looking for work. Loneliness is emerging as a key aspect of mental health with young Europeans feeling the strong impact of pandemic restrictions. This is coupled with job loss, a decrease in working time and insecurity about their professional and financial futures.
  • Nearly half (49%) of young workers said that their working hours had reduced since the onset of COVID-19. This is in line with other age groups, even though many more young people, 43%, started to telework during the outbreak, against 34% of other age groups.
  • Despite the initial negative effects of the crisis on young people, they remain slightly more optimistic than other age groups, with 53% reporting feeling optimistic about their future, compared to 41% of respondents over 50. 
  • Young people still trust the EU (5.2 out of 10) slightly more than they trust national governments (5.1). Young students have even higher trust in both the EU (5.8) and their government (5.6), while those who are unemployed had lower trust in both (4.4 and 4.1, respectively), but this was still higher than other unemployed workers.
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Publications & data

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The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic. 

  • Publications (140)
  • Data
  • Ongoing work (2)

Ongoing work

Research continues in this topic on a variety of themes, which are outlined below with links to forthcoming titles. 

Living, working and COVID-19

Publication Септември 2020

Social situation of NEETs: 10 years on?

Publication Април 2021