Negotiate Overcoming early job-insecurity in Europe
Young man at job interview. Photo: colourbox

Colloquium on different policy responses to youth unemployment

by Greta Juul

On January 9th, the Negotiate-researchers Lisa Steinberg, Marie-Luise Assmann and Irene Dingeldey from Germany organised a colloquium on different policy responses to youth unemployment in Europe.

The financial and economic crisis had a higher impact on youth unemployment rates albeit with differences between the countries. While youth unemployment rates in the Southern European countries are very high, Germany is less affected. Nonetheless, also in Germany many young people suffer from difficulties in finding a job or apprenticeship place. Consequently, it is hard for young people to establish a livelihood, become financially independent and develop prospects for the future. In 2013, the European Commission launched the Youth Guarantee (YG) and member states made a commitment to ensure that young people below 25 years “receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education” (Council of the European Union 2013). Several institutions are important for supporting the transition from school to work of young people. With examples from Greece, Spain and Germany, the colloquium outlined the respective problem pressure as well as the different policy responses when implementing the Youth Guarantee.

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NEGOTIATE Final Conference: A range of recommendations to strengthen European and national efforts to combat early job insecurity

by Greta Juul

On 4 and 5 December 2017 the NEGOTIATE project’s final conference titled ‘Scarred Youth – What can the EU do?’ took place in Norway House in Brussels. The two-day programme included different sessions and offered high level discussions with over 130 researchers, policymakers, civil society and youth who exchanged views and policy recommendations on how to tackle youth unemployment and help young people overcome the consequences of the economic crisis in Europe.                                                         

In the era of “flexible” labour markets, it is evident that the phenomenon of job insecurity and youth unemployment is present with varying intensity and comes in different forms in each of the studied countries. What is clear however is that the lasting effects and ideological disappointment of long-term unemployment negatively affect or even scar youngsters across the continent?





Max Uebe, European Commission               Ambassador Ingrid Schulerud        

Norway’s Ambassador, Ingrid Schulerud opened the conference by welcoming all the participants to Norway House, before Max Uebe from DG Employment at the European Commission underlined the importance of findings ways to strengthen the efforts to combat early job insecurity. Corinna Amting from the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency underlined the importance of NEGOTIATE and praised the collaboration between the three European projects STYLE, NEGOTIATE and EXCEPT.

Tanya Basarab, Thomas Beaujean, Ignacio Doreste, Katarina Sichel








On the first day, the interactive debate centred on two highly visible topics, namely marginalised youth with very little access to the labour market and highly educated youth with no job opportunities, and how the Youth Guarantee should respond to better monitor and improve the situation for youth in Europe. After researchers had introduced the key topics, panels of experts and stakeholders and members of the audience discussed the issues in more detail.







On Tuesday the three thematically related European projects NEGOTIATE, STYLE and EXCEPT focused on the policy recommendations derived from the different analyses carried out by the researchers involved in the projects (the reader can find an overview here). Markku Markkula (EPP), Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions, presented a territorial perspective on how to support efforts to reduce early job insecurity. The session brought together Brando Benifei and Jens Nilsson, Members of the European Parliament from S&D and Conny Reuter, Secretary of the SOLIDAR Foundation, ensuring a political as well as a civil society perspective in the debate. The speakers shared their views on what the EU can do to come to the aid of scarred youth in Europe. They considered the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative as steps in the right direction, but in need of further strengthening.

Jacqueline O`Reilly, Conny Reuter, Marge Unt, Brando Benifei                                    








Markku Markkula, European Committee
of the Regions

Successful implementation, however, comes down to what actions one is able to make at the regional and local levels. For instance, it may be that to improve structurally the current situation for youth, we need a change of mind-sets. More concretely, institutions should be better equipped to accommodate the needs of the most disadvantaged youth in Europe and those who feel that there are no decent prospects. Speakers underlined that one can only address the need for structural reforms and the creation of quality jobs through targeted public investments. The dual system, with its apprenticeships and other forms of vocational education and training (VET), could be a possible model to explore further. While one needs to take the diversity within the EU into account, the EU should seek best practices that are applicable and relevant in different settings and therefore worth social investment.





As a conclusion of the NEGOTIATE project, Edward Elgar will publish two joint volumes presenting findings from the project by the end of 2018. These will be published open access, which means that everyone will be able to access them free of charge. The first book will assess the problems, risk factors and policies related to job insecurity and labour market exclusion of young people. The second book will touch upon the experiences of early job insecurity and how it relates to scarring, resilience and the wellbeing of European youth. Next spring NEGOTIATE partners will meet with the European Commission both for a final evaluation of the project and to consider how the Commission may take into account project findings in their future work.

The photos of the final conference can be found here.

The programme of the Conference.


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European Youth Guarantee, it’s lessons and future

by Ischi Graus

Ten years after the onset of the financial crisis, unemployment and job insecurity are still challenges that affect young people in all European countries. The NEGOTIATE project reveals that despite convergence of policies there is still significant divergence of outcomes. Bad luck in timing of labour market entry leaves scars on the young. During the final conference to take place on 4 and 5 December in Brussels we will discuss ‘Scarred youth – What can the EU do?’.

The European Youth Guarantee – lessons learned and future

The third session will discuss the European Youth Guarantee – Lessons learned and future. Irene Dingeldey, University of Bremen (Germany) will discuss how the EU could ensure continuity into youth unemployment policies in times of ongoing changing labour market.

Addressed in the NEGOTIATE policy brief on the ‘Coordination of European strategies to tackle early job insecurity and youth unemployment: Lessons from a comparative study’, the situation of the young unemployed has become an increasing concern of national governments and the European Union (EU) after the financial crisis. Hence, in 2013 the Council launched the Recommendation on the Youth Guarantee (YG) and the Member States made a commitment to ensure that young people under 25 years “receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education”. NEGOTIATE has been researching the implementation of this guarantee as a policy strategy because it is innovative due to its clear objective and provides dedicated financial resources for youth employment policy through the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).

According to the researchers it is paramount for Member States to facilitate their national institutions to better support their young people systematically during their transition into the labour market. Especially the national capacity of the public employment services with regards to its financing and human resources is in need of strengthening by also offering a more qualitative support to youth in local employment offices. Hence, further (financial) support and guidance is required at national level, to implement measures such as one-stop shops or work experience placements. Social partners and other stakeholder need to be included in the design and monitoring of the youth employment measures. Additionally, Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems play an important role to bring together the demands of employers and the needs of young apprentices while safeguarding the quality of both work and education, as well as fair wages. Thus, efforts of member states to build such institutions are appreciated.

The EU should aim at facilitating the exchange of ideas on youth employment policy at Member State level and remove bureaucratic obstacles. As for the European Semester, it should monitor the progress made on national level through the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans (YGIP) and its country specific goal-setting on a more qualitative basis and enhancing models of good practice.

Here you can find the latest programme of the conference.

To join us on 4 and 5 December, please register here by 29 November at the latest.


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Our final conference will be discussing the consequences of labour market marginalisation

by Ischi Graus

The second session will discuss the consequences of labour market marginalisation from different angles. Christian Imdorf, University of Basel (Switzerland) and Rumiana Stoilova, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge (Bulgaria) will address the role of employers in the inclusion of young job applicants into the labour market, and how the views of employers contrast those of young job candidates. The NEGOTIATE policy brief ‘Employers assessments of young job applicants: Findings from a comparative study’, shows that recruiters tend to penalise job applicants with extensive work experience in deskilling jobs, a history of job-hopping and unemployment. Therefore, recruiter behaviour contributes to the “scarred” youth of Europe, who struggle to find their way out of an insecure job career. The results suggest that unemployment measures aiming at a quick labour market integration of the young unemployed without considering job quality is not a sustainable solution, as deskilling jobs may be dead-end jobs that might even decrease young people’s employability in the long-run. 

The second part of the session includes presentations by Sara Ayllón Gatnau, University of Girona (Spain) and Piotr Michoń, Poznań University of Economics (Poland) who provide insights into the effects of job insecurity beyond the labour market. Their research on the transitions to adulthood in the context of the economic crisis shows that that young Europeans were more likely to enroll in education during the recent economic crisis. However, youth in households at the lowest end of the income distribution were significantly less likely to choose this strategy than their richer counterparts. This result hints at growing social inequalities in human capital accumulation across Europe as a consequence of the recession. Further, their research documents that early job-insecurity cannot unequivocally be related to fertility. The NEGOTIATE policy brief ‘the consequences of early job insecurity and labour market marginalisation: Subjective and objective well-being’, shows that quality employment is key to protect young Europeans from negative effects of job-insecurity on well-being. Taking into account individuals’ well-being, young people should not be pushed into taking up “any kind of employment”. Hence, our researchers stresses the positive role of quality employment and decent jobs in securing the future inclusion of youth in the labour market.

Here you can find the draft programme of the conference.

Join us to discuss the outcomes of the research project and its policy recommendations together with the involved scholars, policy makers, civil society and youth.

Online registration closes on 29 November 2017

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Young people walking in street. Photo:

How does early job insecurity impact later labour market outcomes?

While the Greece and Bulgarian employers show less concern about unemployment spells in job applicants’ CVs, Norwegian and Swiss employers show stricter evaluations in regard of experienced unemployment, which in turn may negatively impact the employment chances for the concerned applicants.

Since the completion of the NEGOTIATE recruiter survey in the four countries Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland, the Swiss team has been working on multiple analyses using the data gained from the factorial survey experiment.

Results of these research projects have been presented at various conferences: the Conference XXIIIèmes Journées du Longitudinal (JDL) at University of Rennes, the Occupations and Social Inequality (COSI) conference at IAB in Nuremberg, the European Consortium for Sociological Research (ESCR) conference at Bocconi University and the conference of the International Working Party on Labour Market Segmentation (IWPLMS) at University of Manchester.

The XXIIIèmes JDL conference was hold at University of Rennes from the 8th to the 9th of December 2016. Christian Imdorf and Lulu Shi from the University of Basel presented their first findings on “How unemployment scarring hits skilled young workers. Evidence from a factorial survey with Swiss recruiters“. The paper addresses the question, who is penalised the most by experienced unemployment in the Swiss labour market.

At the international COSI conference (29th/30th of June 2017, Federal Employment Agency in Nuremberg), that has addressed the question whether and how occupations (re-)produce social inequalities, Lulu Shi from NEGOTIATE and Ariane Bertogg from the University of Konstanz presented preliminary results on “Field-specific recruitment practices: How does unemployment affect later employment chances? A factorial survey design”. The main aim of the paper is to investigate whether employers evaluate experienced unemployment differently across different occupational fields in Switzerland.

Lulu Shi, Christian Imdorf and Rumiana Stoilova finally presented the cross-country comparative results from the factorial survey experiment of the survey at the ESCR 2017 conference at Bocconi University in Milan and at the IWPLMS at the University of Manchester. One of the main aims of their presentation titled “How does early job insecurity impact later labour market outcomes in different European countries?” was to show that there are remarkable cross-countries differences in employer’s evaluation of experienced job insecurity in individual’s career: While the Greece and Bulgarian employers show less concern about unemployment spells in job applicants’ CVs, Norwegian and Swiss employers show stricter evaluations in regard of experienced unemployment, which in turn may negatively impact the employment chances for the concerned applicants.

Written by Lulu Shi and Christian Imdorf

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