Youth unemployment in Spain becomes chronic

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youth unemployment

MADRID – In the ‘boom’-year 2007, Spain reached the historic record of 20.7 million people connected to social security. Of these, 5 million were under the age of 30. Fifteen years and two crises later, that number has nearly halved and youth unemployment becomes chronic.

Of the more than 20 million workers affiliated with the Seguridad Social, 2.7 million are under the age of 30. Even though the Spanish economy is growing again after the financial crisis and now the crisis caused by the pandemic, it is difficult for Spanish youth to find work (43.2% less than in 2007).

Aging is not the main cause for youth unemployment

This is not only due to the aging of the Spanish population. The total number of young people between 16 and 30 years has fallen by 17.6% and one and a half million people, which is almost three times less. While the number of employees has decreased by 2.3 million.

Causes of the drop in employment among young people

The fall in employment among young people has various causes. First of all, the number of young people who choose to study longer instead of working earlier has increased. Second, the demand for jobs does not match the supply. Thirdly, especially after the increase in the minimum wage, companies prefer to hire experienced staff.

Financial crisis and pandemic

El Mundo writes that according to the employment agency ManpowerGroup of the two million young people who have been lost, “1.5 million are due to the financial crisis and the demographic change in the period 2010-2013”. In addition, 402,000 young people are affected by the pandemic.

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Temporary work continues to increase

The decline in employment occurred at all levels of education. In 2007, 76% of the higher educated young people had a job, compared to 66.2% now. At the time, 55.8% of those with an average level of education were in employment compared to 35.5% now. Of the low-skilled workers, 54.4% had a job in 2007, compared to 26.9% today.

The Ministry of Labour has published the December 2021 report “Youth and the Labour Market”. It states that the share of temporary jobs among young people has increased by more than 5 percentage points since 2007. This is especially true among the youngest between the ages of 16 and 24 (from 62% to 73%).

See also: Spain wants highly educated young people back

There has also been a significant increase in the number of people who work part-time but would like to work full-time. 32.5% of young people under the age of 30 were in this situation in 2007, compared to 52.7% today.

Long-term unemployment among young people is increasing

Long-term unemployment is another phenomenon that has increased. In 2007 this affected 1.8% of young people and now 6.6%. If this trend does not change, employment for young people will grow by an average of 0.3% per year over the next ten years, ManpowerGroup calculates. This means that just over 100,000 jobs will be created for this age group.

Labour market reforms needed for 800,000 jobs for young people

The temporary employment agency concludes that with the necessary labour market reforms, employment growth among young people can accelerate by 1.9% per year. That translates into 800,000 more jobs for young people.

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