Questionnaire for EWCO CAR - Working Conditions of Young Entrants

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 12 December 2013



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The issues related to working conditions of young entrants to the labour market are not high both on political and research agenda. There is not specific official information and the concept of young entrants to the labour market is not developed. The focus is on high levels of youth unemployment. The main concern is that about half of young people are long term unemployed and each fifth of them never started to work. The information shows that young entrants are far more likely than other groups to be employed in non standard and insecure jobs under fixed-term contracts or without contract. Jobs under these conditions are often characterised by job insecurity, low wages, little prospects for career and skills development and low labour and social security protection. The ALMP also does not prioritise the quality of jobs for young entrants.

QUESTIONNAIRE

NCs are kindly requested to answer to this questionnaire taking into account the information provided in the background note. The answers will be used as input for elaborating the Comparative Analytical Report – Working Conditions of Young Entrants. Correspondents’ contributions will be edited as ‘national contributions’ and published as stand-alone reports on the web.

This EWCO CAR is specifically focused on the group of “young entrants to the labour market”. This group includes all young people (between 15 and 30 years old) who have recently entered into the labour market (i.e., people with a work experience shorter than 1-2 years in the labour market), with relative independence of their age and for whom work is their main and core activity. This definition excludes young people for whom studies are their main activity but who combine their studies with some remunerated activity as part of their training programmes (e.g. apprenticeships in dual systems), as well as unemployed young people, even if they are actively looking for a job (see Background note for more detailed information on the concept of young entrants to be considered in the research).

The CAR coordinating team is conscious that such as “narrow” definition of “young entrants to the labour market” can make difficult the identification and collection of relevant information on the topic. Therefore, and in the case no national information is available using this “narrow” definition, National Correspondents can use a “proxy” definition of “young entrant to the labour market” as any young person (i.e. between 15 and 30 years old) who is in employment, irrespectively of the number of years of experience that he/she has in the labour market (again, unemployed young people are excluded from the analysis).

The questionnaire focuses on the following topics:

  • 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 (around 700 words)

  • Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country (around 600 words)

  • Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis (around 500 words)

  • Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market (around 500 words)

  • Make a final commentary on the main results (around 100 words)

Please give your answers as specifically as possible for the subheadings (1.1., 1.2.,…) in each block.

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

1.1 Career and employment security issues

• Satisfaction at work; employment status, presence of precarious and/or atypical forms of employment (temporary workers, part-time, agency work); Pay systems and levels/conditions; Autonomy at work; Fear to lose employment; Working time issues (number of worked hours, working time flexibility), etc

It is difficult to provide precise and reliable information on working conditions of young people, namely of the young entrants to the labour market. The surveys on working conditions in the country are scarce and rarely provide breakdown by age groups. On the other hand, the surveys and strategic documents on youth are focused on employment and unemployment and do not consider the working conditions. This is due to the high and increasing levels of youth unemployment and inactivity (Bulgaria has the highest NEET rate in the EU27).

The answers to this CAR are based mainly on secondary processing of the data of the nationally representative survey on Work Climate Index (WCI survey), conducted in 2010 by the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research (ISTUR). (Tomev, L. et al. 2011) BG1204011I

More than half of the young people up to 30 years old (57, 9%) are satisfied with their job. However each fifth is not satisfied (WCI survey).

More than half of the young people (56, 7%) consider that there are no possibilities for career development in the company. Some 28% however consider that the opportunities are high and very high.

The study ‘Labour Market in 2011’ conducted by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) shows the presence of precarious and atypical forms of employment of young people. (Dulevski, L., 2012). In most cases they are related to poor working conditions. A specific trait of the Bulgarian labour market overall, including the youth labour market, is the low level of part-time employment. However fixed-term employment and working without labour contracts are widespread between young entrants to the labour market. For about ¾ of the young people aged 15-29 years the fixed-term employment is involuntary (no permanent job could be found). The study is based on secondary analysis of the National Statistical Institute Labour force quarterly surveys in 2010 and 2011.

The share of young people working in informal economy without any contract is large. Jobs there are insecure as they can be lost in any time. There employment and social security rights of young people are undermined or even lacking. According to the already cited CITUB study the share of young people (15-19) working without contract was 19, 6 % in 2010 and 17, 2 % in 2011 compared to 2, 2% and 1, 7% for all employees respectively.

Table 1: Employees by age group and type of contract (%)

Age group

2010–Q2

2011 –Q2

 

Indefinite

Fix-term

Indefinite

Fix-term

15-19

63.1

36.9

69,0

31,0

20-24

91.6

8.4

94,0

6,0

25-29

94.4

5.6

95,5

4,5

Total (all employees)

95.1

4.9

95,9

4,1

Table 1: Employees by age group and type of contract (%)
Age group 2010–Q2 2011 –Q2
  Labour, civil servants contract Other type of contract Without contract Labour, civil servants contract Other type of contract Without contract

15-19

73,2

9,6

17,2

75,3

5,1

19,6

20-24

93,3

2,7

4,0

97,1

1,1

1,9

25-29

96,3

0,8

2,9

97,4

0,6

1,9

Total (all employees)

96,4

1,5

2,2

97,6

0,8

1,7

Source: Dulevski, L., Labour market - 2011, CITUB, 2012 (Unpublished report)

The data presented in the CITUB study on labour market show that youngest entrants work longer working hours. Thus, the usual weekly working hours are longer for the youngest entrants (15 to 19) by 1.85 hours, while in 2010 –Q2 , employed full-time on fixed-term contract (15-29) have worked 4.49 hours more compared with those employed full-time on permanent contract in the same age group. In the second quarter of 2011 young people (15-19) employed full time on permanent contract had worked 1.38 hours more compared to those employed full-time on fixed-term contract (Dulevski, L., 2012) .

Table 2: Usual weekly working time (hours) by age and type of contract

Age group

Full time/fixed term contract

Part-time/indefinite contract

Part-time/ fixed term contract

Full time/ indefinite contract

Total

2010 –Q2

15-19

45.73

24.00

17.33

41.24

40.56

20-24

44.41

21.33

17.40

41.66

41.26

25-29

44.30

20.00

13.00

41.42

41.43

total all employees

42,39

20,75

19,07

40,70

40,43

2011-Q2

15-19

41,46

   

42,84

42,41

20-24

40,67

21,59

20,00

40,97

40,51

25-29

43,23

20,99

20,00

40,82

40,55

total all employees

42,39

20,75

19,07

40,70

40,43

Source: Dulevski, L., Labour market - 2011, CITUB, 2012 (Unpublished report)

Surveys registered high and increasing levels of job insecurity. While in 2010 some 20% considered that it is very likely to lose job (WCI survey, 2010), in 2012 this share increase to 48 % (Mediana Survey, 2012) More than 30% claim also wage arrears BG1210011I.

The General Labour Inspectorate –Еxecutive Agency (GLI-EA) reports for the period 200/8 -2011 registered also increased job insecurity related to working conditions, e.g., increasing number of cases of working without a labour contract as well cases of wage arrears or non payment of overtime or longer working hours.

1.2 Skills development

• Continuing vocational training activities, training activities paid by employer, etc

The level of CVET, provided by Bulgarian firms is low and decreasing in times of crisis. The results of the WCI survey show that according to the respondents, the company provide:

• training at the workplace – 30,4%

• qualification and new qualification – 15,4%

• possibilities for further education – 8,9%

• CVET – 14,6%

• Training on other professions -7,7%

• Job sharing – 13,0%

1.3 Health and well being

• Exposure to risks and hazards, stress at work, job intensity, psychosocial risks, information on existing health and safety risks at work, monotonous/complex work, social support at work, organisational issues, etc

According to the information of the National Social Security Institute (NSSI) in the last years the number of accidents decreased. The number of accidents with young people decreased by 8%.

About quarter of respondents reported problems with health and well-being.The results of the WCI survey-2010 (Tomev, L. et al, 2011) show that according to the respondents up to 30 years:

• the work they do does not expose their health at risk - 51,3% (20,7% consider that it exposes at risk and 24,6% -it exposes at risk to some extent)

• risk of accidents is high – 23,7%

• there are tensions and frustrating environment – 27,2%

• the work is monotonous – 21,9%

• work to tight deadlines – 27,7%

• at the workplace there is tension and frustrated working environment – 27, 8%.

Just 4, 2% of respondents consider that they always work in dangerous working conditions, while the largest part (65, 9%) never works in dangerous working conditions. About 1/3 of respondents stated that often they return home exhausted, while more than half returned home exhausted and just 15% never returned home exhausted.

While the levels of verbal abuse and violence are low (at 2, 4%), 13, 7% respondents to the WCI survey consider their work always stressful and more than 40% - some times stressful.

Table 3: Perception of the job characteristics (%)

Job characteristics

Disagree

Neither agree nor disagree

Agree

Work is monotonous 

15-30 years old

60,4

17,7

21,9

 Over 30

54,4

18,3

27,30%

I work to tight deadlines

15-30 years old

51,4

18,2

27,7

Over 30

49,2

18,5

32,3

Work is interesting

15-30 years old

14,5

24,5

59,2

 Over 30

15,6

26

56,4

My job include heavy physical work

15-30 years old

66,6

13,5

19,9

Over 30

70,5

10,5

29,5

At the workplace there is tension and frustrating work environment

15-30 years old

55,3

17,5

27,2

Over 30

47,3

15,8

36,9

I feel psychologically and physically exhausted at the workplace

 15-30 years old

56

16,3

27,8

Over 30

45,5

18,5

36

Source: Tomev, L. et al. Work climate survey -2010. Report, 2011, Additional processing of data for this CAR

1.4 Reconciliation of working and non-working life

• Work life balance, flexibility at work to fulfil personal/other matters, ability to set own working time arrangements, etc).

According to the WCI survey data just 1/3 of the respondents up to 30 years old stated that the company organised some activities for work- life balance. However some 62, 8% of young employees have possibility to use leave when necessary and 45, 6% can impact the working time arrangements. However just 13, 3% can set the beginning and end of the working day. It appears that for between 60 to 70% of the young people reconciliation of working and non-working life is not an issue.

Table 4: Reconciliation of working and non-working life (%)
 

Always

Some times

Never

How often the requirements of the private life impact work

3,9

20,3

71,9

How often the requirements of work impact the private life

9,2

24,7

63,0

Source: Tomev, L. et al. Work climate survey -2010.

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

• Differences by age ranges: the lower the age, are working conditions worse?

The existing information and research do not provide evidence that the lower the age, the working conditions are worse. It is important to mention that there are special legislative requirements for protection of the minors in the Labour code. The official working age is 18 years. There are special requirements for employment and working conditions of people aged 15-18, including special permission of the General Labour Inspectorate –Еxecutive Agency , shorter working time, larger paid leave, and prohibition to work in harmful working conditions, etc.

However, if we consider the employment conditions and employment status, the younger group (15-19) is more exposed to atypical forms of employment as shown in Table 1 (Dulevski, 2011) and less possibilities for skills and career development (WCI survey, 2010).

• Differences by gender: do young women endure worse conditions than their male counterparts?

No data available.

• Differences by educational levels: do the less qualified young entrants suffer worse working conditions than the rest?

No data available for working conditions by educational level and age. Young people with only a primary or lower education are marginalised on the labour market: 65.3 % of them are unemployed and only 4.4% are employed.( (Dimitrov, Y., 2012).)

• Differences by other personal characteristics

A range of factors related to family background – employment of family members, wealthy or highly educated parents, etc. – are associated with better labour market outcomes. The access of individuals from richer or better educated families to wider, more powerful networks enables them to get a better, more highly paid job some times even regardless of the attained level of education. At the other end is the ‘generational unemployment’ BG1210011I. Personal qualities could play an even greater role since more individuals are likely to achieve higher educational levels and, thus, better quality jobs and higher earnings. (NSI. Labour Force Survey, Ad Hoc Module on Youth Transitions from School to Work and 2009, Mediana survey, 2012).

• Reasons and rationale of these possible differences

Due to the lack of comprehensive data on the differences it is difficult to judge on their possible reasons and rationale

2.2 Occupational characteristics

• Differences by economic sectors: are there sectors where young labour market entrants enjoy/suffer better/worse working conditions than in others?

According to official statistics data young people are mostly employed in sectors where the working conditions are worse and the registered by the General Labour Inspectorate –Executive Agency (GLI-EA) breaches of labour and health and safety legislation are more frequent (e.g., construction, manufacturing, hotels construction and wholesale and retail trade). These sectors experienced the biggest change in employment among young people (15–24) (Dimitrov, Y., 2012). However there is no information about the working conditions of different age groups.

• Differences by size classes: Are SMEs providing better/ worse working conditions for young labour market entrants in comparison to larger companies?

There is no data available on the youth employment by age and company size. However the CITUB Survey on Labour Market -2011 shows that the employment in SMEs is characterised by more fixed-term contracts, more people working without contract, longer working hours, lower wages and poorer working conditions due to the lack of finances (Dulevski, L., 2011)

• Differences by occupations: do young people in less skilled occupations have poorer working conditions than those young people in skilled occupations?

LFS data show that during the 2008–2011, the most affected subgroup of young people (15–24 years of age) in terms of absolute and relative employment was the one in elementary occupations, which do not require specific qualifications. This makes such jobs comparatively insecure.

There is no data available about working conditions by occupation and age group.

• Reasons of these possible differences

Due to the lack of comprehensive data on the differences it is difficult to judge on their possible reasons and rationale

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

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

There is no comparable information and research providing for conclusions on the evaluation of working conditions of the new entrants to the labour market.

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)

It is expected that the labour market situation of young labour market entrants will improve considering the wide range of measures aiming to increase youth labour market participation. The improvement of the working conditions will follow the economic growth pace. However the lack of monitoring and information about programmes and measures and the lack of prospective surveys make it difficult to prognosticate.

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.

For the identified initiative(s), please provide:

• General information (name, dates, responsible body, geographical and sectoral scope…)

The National Initiative ‘Jobs for Young People in Bulgaria’. The schemes and programmes included in the Initiative are planed for the period 2012-2013. The Initiative has national coverage. Responsible for the implementation are: Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Employment agency, social partners.

Information available at:

www.mlsp.government.bg/bg/docs/ML_INICIATIVA_prietaMS.doc

• Objectives

Support for transition from school to work, provision of first job and creation of employment opportunities for young people

• Support offered, activities carried out

Activation measures, including information, registration in Labour Offices and consultations.

Measures towards increasing the young people employability, comprising mediation services and motivation, literacy training and primary classes for those who need them in order to be included in further vocational training, professional qualifications and competencies training (including the recently launched voucher system).

Support during the transition period between education and work, including measures such as ensuring the first job on the base of a national agreement between the social partners, provision of internships, on-the-job-training, subsidised employment, apprenticeships, entrepreneurship empowerment, career guidance and development and the organisation of youth labour exchanges.

In 2012, the government and social partners signed the First Job National Agreement (in Bulgarian) which is part of the National initiative. The agreement aims to create new opportunities for young people in the labour market and to provide employment for at least 22,000 of them, reducing the youth unemployment rate by 5%. The agreement includes a plan for eight programmes and initiatives for young people to be funded under the national action plan for employment and the Operational Programme ‘Human Resources Development’ 2007–2013. These include the ‘New start’ (an apprenticeship programme), ‘First job’, ‘New job’, ‘Development’, and ‘Start of career’ programmes, as well as subsidised schemes encouraging employers to hire the young unemployed. BG1206011I

• Target group(s)

Unemployed and inactive young people up to 29 years old, including the young people in the age group 15 – 24

• Outcomes: major results/consequences on employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants

As a result of actions taken during the period 2012 – 2013 it is expected to provide employment for at least 22,000 young people; to reduce the youth unemployment rate by 5% and to reduce the share of NEETs for the group 15 – 24 to 19%.

• If available, assessment of these measures/initiatives (lessons learnt, future prospects)

The Initiative is ongoing and there is still not official assessment.

Please discuss whether the Active Labour Market Policies and other measures described for young entrants in your country are paying enough attention to the quality of jobs and working conditions they are offered

According to expert evaluations, Bulgarian ALMP is very close to good EU standards and practices in terms of availability. Nevertheless, the strategic objectives of ALMP to reduce youth unemployment and to increase youth employment rates are still far from being accomplished. Up until 2010, direct job creation had the largest share in youth support measures. However, since the beginning of 2011, the official policy has focused on training. In ALMP the Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007–2013 (HRD OP) was given priority as a financial instrument. In 2011, more than 43 youth programmes were being implemented, with about 43,000 youth participants. At the same time, there are no signs of reduced tension in the youth segment of the labour market. There are perhaps too many ALMP measures, which mean a loss of focus and a probable increase in the administrative costs of their implementation (Dimitrov, Y., 2012).

Unfortunately, the quality of jobs and working conditions are not a stated priority of these measures and policies.

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.

For these initiatives, please provide:

• General information (name, dates, responsible body, geographical and sectoral scope…)

Scheme "New workplace" under the Operational Programme Human Resources Development. Started in September 2012 and will continue till end of 2014. Budget allocated is BGN18 million (about EUR9 million). Responsible for the implementation is the Employment Agency

Website: http://ophrd.government.bg/view_doc.php/6063

• Objectives pursued

Aims to encourage employers to provide training and employment for easing transition from school to work and to improve working conditions for young people up to age 29 for a period of 6 to 12 months.

• Support offered, activities carried out

The financial support is between BGN 18 000 and 300 000.

Covers resources for wages and social security contributions of the employed young people for six months to one year. The wage is to be at the level of the minimum social threshold for the given occupation, agreed by the branch social partners. (BG1110021I) In the period of training young people will receive a scholarship at BGN8 per day and transport benefit if the training is conducted out side the workplace.

Financing (at 40% of the total project sum) is also provided for investment in equipping the workplace of the new employee, including buying new computers, desks, chairs or other equipment. Allowed is also allocation of resources to make repairs at the premises where the new workers will work.

Activities under the scheme include: vocational training and employment, and equipment and improving working environment at the new workplace.

• Target groups

• Unemployed young people up to 29 years old.Outcomes: major results/consequences on employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants

It is expected that about 2000 unemployed young people will profit by the scheme. It is the first scheme that provides also resources for improvement of the working environment and guaranteeing better working conditions for the entrants to the labour market.

• If available, assessment of these measures/initiatives (lessons learnt, future prospects)

The scheme is ongoing and it is too early to assess the results. Up to February 2013 there are over 600 project applications logged by employers.

Commentary by the NC

NCs are requested to provide a brief commentary on main obtained results, indicating whether the working conditions of ‘first’ jobs are a concern of the authorities and social partners and whether the instruments and mechanisms put in place to support young people in the labour market address the quality of jobs offered.

Young people have always been considered a disadvantaged group on the labour market and they have therefore received particular attention in terms of policies, programmes, measures and spending. However a coherent integrated policy approach – incorporating provisions for addressing both the quantity and quality of employment is still lacking. The difficulties in finding information and research related to this CAR suggests that national initiatives targeting youth focus mainly on youth unemployment, rather than working conditions.

Social partners also are focusing mainly on quantity of jobs while considering the working conditions of young entrants as a part of their overall activity related to the working conditions improvement in companies. Better knowledge of youth working conditions will facilitate the creation of quality jobs for youth and will support the youth policy development. .

References:

• Dulevski, L., (2012). Labour market - 2011, CITUB (Unpublished report). Under the joint project of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions and the Bulgarian Industrial Association ‘Security through the law, flexibility through the collective agreements’, co-funded by the ESF under the HRD OP

• Dimitrov, Y. (2012).Youth unemployment in Bulgaria, FES, available at: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/09470.pdf

• Mediana Agency (2012), Youth Unemployment in Bulgaria – factors, type of unemployment, social-psychological attitudes, state policy, programmes, measures effectiveness, problems identification, Mediana Agency, Sofia (in Bulgarian), available at: http://www.ilianaiotova.eu/files/h_g_DOCLAD_youth_unemployment_2012.pdf

• Tomev, L. et al. (2011). Work climate index-2010. Analytical report, (unpublished). Under the joint project of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions and the Bulgarian Industrial Association ‘Security through the law, flexibility through the collective agreements’, co-funded by the ESF under the HRD OP. Summary (in Bulgarian) available at: http://sofia2012qualityofworkconference.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/tomev_work-climate-index-and-work-satisfatiction-in-bulgaria_bg.pdf

Nadezhda Daskalova, ISTUR

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