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Half of young Europeans ready to work abroad

13/05/2011 Half of young Europeans ready to work abroad

According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, 53% of young people in Europe are willing or keen to work in another European country, but lack of cash discourages many of them from taking a first step towards this by spending part of their education abroad.

The survey highlights a huge gap between the widespread desire of young people to work abroad and actual workforce mobility: less than 3% of Europe's working population currently lives outside their home country. The survey, conducted in the context of the Commission's 'Youth on the Move' initiative, is published on the eve of the 2011 European Youth Week (15-21 May).

Studies show that students who spend part of their studies or training outside their home country boost their employability and are more likely to work abroad later in life. Employers value the skills they gain such as the ability to speak a foreign language, adaptability and interpersonal competences.

The survey shows that only one in seven (14%) young Europeans have been abroad for education or training. Lack of funding prevents many from doing so. Of those who said they had wanted to go abroad, 33% said they couldn't afford it; nearly two-thirds (63%) of those who did had to rely on private funding or savings.

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