EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Portugal: Insecure employment among young people cause for concern

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In Portugal, the predominance of insecure and flexible forms of work among young people is seen as a serious risk associated with the transition into adulthood.

Portugal continues to suffer from high unemployment and job precariousness, which affects the different social categories and regions, although in an unequal way. Data from Statistics Portugal in May (Instituto Nacional de Estatística - INE) showed that the unemployment rate has begun to rise again and the long-term unemployment is assuming a worrying dimension (affecting 64.5% of unemployed persons).  Additionally, job precariousness remains relatively high and is growing, affecting 21% of workers, particularly young workers. In the first quarter of 2015 there were 773,000 workers with fixed-term contracts or other type of contract, which represents an increase of more than 42,000  compared with the same period last year – an increase of 5.7%. These subjects have been widely discussed in the relevant Portuguese newspapers.

The predominance of insecure and flexible forms of work among young people is identified in a study published by the Institute of Social Sciences of the Lisbon University (Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa – ICS-UL) in May as a serious risk. The risk is associated with transition into adulthood, since intermittent work situations, ranging from traineeships, part-time jobs, scholarships, accumulation of jobs, odd jobs, and other forms of employment formerly called atypical, are likely to be institutionalised as typical, structuring both labour and life trajectories of today’s young people.

In a report published by OECD, similar concerns are shared: these include the high levels of youth unemployment, particularly among young people with low qualifications who were the hardest hit by the economic crisis, the increasing share of young people in Portugal who are neither employed, nor registered as unemployed, or in education or training (NEET) and the long periods of unemployment which hamper workers’ employability.

 

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