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Europe — Young people are more often in temporary employment

11 December 2009

A new report published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) reveals that there is a direct relationship between the level of education and youth unemployment.

In the second quarter of 2009 in all member states (EU27), the unemployment rate for the age group 25 to 34 was 19.2% for those with a low education level (up to lower secondary education), 9.1% for those with a medium level (upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education) and 5.9% for those with a high level (tertiary education). Almost all member states followed this pattern, with the higher the education level, the lower the unemployment rate. Only in Greece did unemployment rates hardly vary with the educational level.

The unemployment rate for those aged 25 to 34 with a low education level ranged from 6.4% in the Netherlands, 7.6% in Malta and 8.7% in Cyprus to 53.7% in Slovakia, 34.4% in the Czech Republic and 31.1% in Latvia. For those with a medium level it ranged from 3.1% in the Netherlands, 4.2% in Austria and 4.5% in Cyprus to 18.8% in Spain, 17.8% in Latvia and 17.3% in Lithuania. For those with a high education, it varied from 1.9% in the Netherlands, 2.7% in Romania and 2.8% in the Czech Republic to 11.8% in Spain, 11.7% in Greece and 9.6% in Italy.

In the EU27 in 2008, nearly four out of every ten employees aged 15 to 24 and two out of ten of those aged 25 to 29 had a temporary contract. This share was less than one in ten for those aged 30 to 54. This pattern of a fall in the share of temporary contracts with age is the same in all member states. Among those aged 15 to 24, the main reasons for having a temporary contract were that it covered a period of training (mentioned by 40% of young people with a temporary contract), e.g. apprenticeship, or that they could not find a permanent job (37%). For those aged 25 to 29, these shares were 15% and 65% respectively.

While in some member states, the proportion of employees with a temporary contract was high in all age groups (e.g. Spain, Poland and Portugal) and in other member states it was low for all ages (e.g. Latvia, Lithuania and Romania), there were particularly significant differences between age groups in Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Slovenia.

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