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Portugal Doesn't Look Good in Photography – Executive Summary

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From Portugal to Spain, via France, Greece or the Czech Republic: youth unemployment in Europe is reaching alarming proportions – more than two million people under the age of 25 are unemployed, according to the latest Eurostat data, which translates into a rate of 14.4%, one of the lowest values ​​in the last decade.

However, the disparities in European territories are clear: they range from 26.5% in Spain to 5.8% in Germany – Portugal does not look so good in the picture, ranking fourth in Europe with 22.2%, surpassed only by Sweden (23.9%) and Greece (22.6%), as well as the neighboring country.

Find out which countries are experiencing the worst conditions:

Spain – 26.5%
Sweden – 23.9%
Greece – 22.6%
Portugal – 22.2%
Slovakia – 20.8%
Italy – 20.2%
Finland – 19.3%
France – 17.8%
Estonia – 16.4%
Bulgaria and Hungary – 14.4%
Lithuania – 14.3%
Poland – 12%
Latvia – 10.2%
Austria – 8.6%
Czech Republic – 7.5%
Germany – 5.8%

Although there has been a positive development since 2021, young Europeans have identified in various youth opinion polls – prepared by “Ipsos European Public Affairs” at the request of the European Parliament and focused on summarizing the opinion of European youth as a Eurobarometer of youth – that unemployment is one of their main concerns or concerns. One front they consider public institutions should take as a priority.

Take the case of Yannis, a 30-year-old Greek man who is trying to devote himself to photography as a freelance photographer. “The first thing they ask me is what I do for a living,” he says, quoted by the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial – in his situation, there are months when he has a job, and others when he doesn’t. His girlfriend has been unemployed for seven months, and they have to pay 500 euros in rent for a 35-square-meter apartment, without financial support from the family.

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In 2023, the unemployment rate among the population aged 15 to 29 in Greece reached 22%, the second highest in the EU, after Spain. “It is still well above the 16% it was in 2008, at the beginning of the global financial crisis, but well below the 49% it reached in 2013, at the height of the recession caused by the first two MoUs,” explains Maria Carmesini, professor of labor economics at Panteion University and director of the Greek Employment Agency.

Between temporality and rotation

Having a stable, indeterminate job at the age of 25 is seen as a privileged position. In fact, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions highlights that one of the reasons for instability in Europe is temporality and “the greater use of internships and trial periods.”

In the Czech Republic, although the employment rate is among the lowest, temporary employment for young people with small contracts is prominent. Therefore, the quality of employment does not match the high proportion of employees.

Another factor that EU countries are exploring is the level of training. This is the case in Bulgaria, where the unemployment rate of 14.4% is linked to the fact that “young people from Generation Z either do not want these jobs or are not sufficiently prepared for them,” according to the Institute for Market Economy (IME). ).

Many European countries use short-term or temporary contracts that fit easily into student life. “In Lithuania, it is very common to combine study and work, and a large number of students work from the first year onwards, most of the time in jobs that are not related to their studies. The higher the degree, the more students work in jobs related to their specialization,” explains Rita Karavityan, Marketing Manager at CV-Online.

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Currently, the youth unemployment rate in Lithuania is 7.3%, compared to 8.2% in the country as a whole and 9.8% for those over 50 (data from the National Employment Service). Although youth unemployment is slightly higher than last year or the year before, the situation is now positively stable compared to 2021, when youth unemployment reached nearly 11% in June, or compared to the economic crisis, when it broke records. .

The problem still lies in the common denominator: instability. University of London professor and honorary vice-president of the Global Basic Income Network (BIEN), Guy Standing, highlights in his book Vulnerability: The New Dangerous Class the effects of this turnover and uncertainty on employment: “This creates incredible stress,” he explains. insecurity, mental illness, and deaths of despair,” he said, highlighting that young people “are forced to do a lot of work that is not counted, recognized or paid for.”

Like the generations that preceded them, Young Z has a high level of education. A degree, a master's degree or even two, a second or even a third language… All this for a job that is not always linked to the specialty. “The new generations seem to have a slightly more critical spirit than the previous ones, being less compliant when choosing a job and not being attached to the first thing that comes to them,” says Pedro César Martínez, associate professor at the Pontificia Comillas University and doctorate from the School of Economics and Business Sciences (ICAD) in the Department of Business Administration.

“Looking for a good job is not that easy, even when you have experience and preparation. I have been looking for job offers in marketing for two months, and despite my experience in large international companies, even outside Bulgaria, no one is interested. I have the impression that they do not hire the most qualified people, but candidates with connections,” denounces 25-year-old Dejan Ivanov, who has been working since he was 18, adding that the offers he finds are vacancies for internships or with other “misleading” conditions.

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The rate of overqualification for young people aged 20-34 in the EU is 23.8%, according to the latest data published by Eurostat – overqualification is understood as when a person with a certain level of education ends up working in professions that do not require such High level of education.

Among European countries, this rate was highest in Turkey (41%), followed by Greece (38.3%) and Spain (35%). Meanwhile, in countries such as Sweden (15.2%), Denmark (14.8%), and Luxembourg (6.1%), the lowest rates were recorded.

In the Greek case, “Generation Z has more opportunities, but in lower-quality jobs,” Carmisini explains. “More than 50% of young people aged 15-24 and 30% of those aged 25-29 work in the catering, accommodation or trade sectors, i.e. in jobs with low or medium qualifications, undeclared or below – declared work “Also, the working hours are very long, there are no days off and the working conditions are very precarious.”

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