Youth

27 Mayıs 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

Living, working and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide-ranging effects on people’s quality of life and work across the EU. Earlier this...
Forthcoming

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...

Is history repeating itself? The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on youth

While we now know that the idea that ‘COVID-19 only affects older people’ is fake news, the first weeks of the pandemic...

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’ is 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 prepares the way for an Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights which reiterates the EU’s commitment to the Youth Guarantee. One of the Commission’s key initiatives is a reinforced Youth Guarantee in the second quarter of 2020. Consultations with the European social partners kicked off in February 2020.

Giving young people a voice on the future of Europe, the European Parliament hosts a biennial European Youth Event (EYE). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EYE2020 exceptionally moves to an online edition with different activities organised in digital formats. Young people from all over the EU and beyond can meet virtually, share their stories and exchange their views with experts, decision-makers, activists and influencers. The wide range of planned events will cover a range of topics like mental health and the future of work, as well as Q&A sessions with MEPs and committee chairs. Eurofound will present a live session on how COVID-19 is affecting young people based on the findings of its recent online e-survey. 

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 presents a live session during the EYE2020 to discuss some of the initial results of the survey, focusing on how young people are coping during COVID-19. The burning question will be 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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Publications & data

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

  • Publications (138)
  • Veri
  • 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 Eylül 2020