Flexible Employment is Key

Private employment agencies are working to arrest the downward spiral of youth unemployment, which threatens to inflict lasting damage on an entire generation, with unforeseeable long-term effects on employment, productivity, and social cohesion. But their efforts will require strong support from business and government.

GLATTBRUG, SWITZERLAND – Rising youth unemployment, especially in Europe, is making headlines worldwide. Roughly 5.5 million Europeans under the age of 25 are unemployed. More than 7.5 million people aged 15-24 are “NEETs” – not in employment, education, or training. The youth unemployment rate exceeds 25% in 13 European countries, amounting to roughly 30% in Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, and Slovakia, and surpassing 55% in Greece and Spain.

Furthermore, more than 30% of jobseekers under 25 have been unemployed for more than 12 months, and their chances of finding employment remain low. Less than one-third of young people who were unemployed in 2010 found a job in 2011, and their chances continue to decline.

According to a recent report by Eurofound, the economic cost (benefits paid plus tax-revenue lost) of young NEETs exceeds €150 billion ($196 billion) annually – more than 1.2% of the European Union’s total GDP. In some countries – such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, and Poland – youth unemployment costs more than 2% of GDP.

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