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The Labour-Market Integration of Young People: A Challenge for Europe

02/02/2009 The Labour-Market Integration of Young People: A Challenge for Europe

This study aims to provide a wider knowledge of youth labour-market trends and their evolution in order to adopt suitable correctives.

Following the European Commission's request, the “Youth” project has attempted to define the main challenges that youth integration policies have to tackle in the coming years. This study explores the following areas:

Labour-market performance  

Young people constitute an exceptional resource for the renewal of society but labour-market inefficiencies prevent them being fully utilized. Their difficult position in this market is evident Europe-wide; from 2000 to 2005 the youth labour-market performance deteriorated as activity and employment rates fell while unemployment rose. There are also several gender differences in unemployment levels.  

The situation of young people

The young are the segment of the European population that work mostly in low-quality jobs which require low qualifications and are poorly paid. Many young people are denied access to the rights of social citizenship which the European social model has up to now guaranteed its workers. These factors help to delay access to an adult life based on economic independence from families of origin and on the possibility of making responsible choices connected to creating a family and parenthood.

Country clustering

A set of indicators has been defined for analysing the situation of young people in individual and country clusters from the point of view of flexicurity and human development. This factorial plan could be used to monitor regularly the effectiveness of youth inclusion policies.

Flexicurity measures and youth lifecycle 

The policies studied are analysed from a youth lifecycle perspective. Their results depend on their capacity to adapt to young people’s pathways and conditions. 

Managing transitions and risks  

The objective of full employment for young people would be achievable under three conditions: the coordination of monetary, financial and income policy, the reform of labour-market and social policies, and the fostering of individual autonomy through investments and improved capabilities.

Five common challenges

A detailed analysis of the successes and limits of the public policies undertaken by the European Union countries highlights five common European challenges. 

Security and faith in the future

Finally it is necessary to effectively overcome the widespread conviction that the life conditions of the new generations are destined to deteriorate. It is thus necessary to reduce their uncertainties and increase confidence in their possibility to manage the risks, investments and sacrifices which appear necessary, even for these new generations, to enter adult life.