Negotiate Overcoming early job-insecurity in Europe

NEGOTIATE progress meeting – preparing the final outcomes on the consequences of youth unemployment in Europe

by Ischi Graus

Last week the project consortium members came together in Sofia, Bulgaria, for their last Progress Meeting and General Assembly. The meeting was organised by the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge (ISSK). The main aim of the meeting was to have a discussion on the two volumes that will bring together the main outcomes of the research carried out by the project. Both volumes will be published by Edward Elgar and will appear by the summer of 2018. The first book will cover youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe and will assess the problems, risk factors and policies. The second book will touch upon the experiences of early job insecurity and how it relates to scarring, resilience and wellbeing of European youth.

Both volumes will look at the differences between EU Member States regarding policies and institutions at hand to cope with the consequences of youth unemployment and job-insecurity. They also examine the main causes and consequences of early career insecurity and what youth would like to see their governments do to tackle the effects of youth unemployment. Contributions to the book also engage into the question of how job insecurity affects wellbeing and family formation, hence the effects it can have beyond the labour market.

The main outcomes will be discussed with the scholars involved in the project, youth, policy makers, trade unions and civil society on 4 and 5 December 2017 when the NEGOTIATE project will hold its final conference in Brussels. More information on this event will come shortly. To receive updates on the NEGOTIATE project, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to our newsletter (bottom of page).

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Introducing an index of labour mobility for the youth

by Ischi Graus

From 29 August till 1 September the 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association, (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities took place in Athens, Greece. Maria Symeonaki, Scientific Coordinator/ Assistant Professor at Panteion University of Social and Political Science (UPSPS)/ Department of Social Policy gave a presentation on a paper written together with G. Stamatopoulou and M. Karamessini on introducing the index of labour mobility for youth. Here you can find the powerpoint presentation on positive labour mobility.

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Serious young man sitting on walk way tunnel. Photo: colourbox

Consequences of work in deskilling jobs for young people

by Ischi Graus

A new paper shows that work experience in deskilling jobs does not lead to better recruiter’s evaluation and employability.

In the newly appeared working paper titled Explaining employers’ hiring decisions: A comparative study of employers risk assessment the researchers from the University of Basel, University of Luxembourg, HiOA-NOVA, Norway, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Panteion University, have looked into two types of early job insecurity: unemployment spells and work experience in jobs that do not match one’s previously acquired skills (deskilling jobs).

A survey experiment

The objective of the researchers was to investigate the scarring effects of early job insecurity on future employment chances, the researchers have conducted a factorial survey experiment where fictive CVs with experimentally varied employment paths and educational credentials were evaluated by real recruiters hiring for real jobs in regards to the applicant’s employability.

How do recruiters evaluate unemployment periods?

The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of employer-sided provoked scarring effects caused by insecure job experience with regard to country and occupational field specific settings.

When national unemployment rates are at a comparable level, scarring caused by work experience in deskilling jobs seems to be more likely in countries with strong employment protection regulations. Scarring caused by unemployment spells, however, seems to be stronger in countries where the national unemployment rate is relatively low.

In addition, there are also differences on how recruiters in different sector evaluate one’s CV and how one has spent his or her period of unemployment.

Finally, the paper gives grounds for caution when it comes to the debates around active labour market policies. It argues that short-term measures aiming for labour market reintegration may not be most suitable when it doesn’t take job quality into consideration.

The research shows that work experience in deskilling jobs does not lead to better recruiter’s evaluation and employability.

Here you can read the full version of working paper 7.3: Explaining employers’ hiring decisions: A comparative study of employers’ risk assessment.

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Young woman with black hat. Back to camera. Night in street. Photo: colourbox

Employers’ assessments of young job applicants

by Ischi Graus

A new policy brief suggests that unemployment measures aiming at a quick labour market integration of the young unemployed without the consideration of job quality may not be a sustainable solution.

One of the main goals of the NEGOTIATE project is to better understand how early employment instability and unemployment affect the careers of young job seekers from the perspective of employers.

This particular policy brief covers recruiters’ evaluations of young job applicants in different economic and policy contexts across Europe, in order to gain knowledge on some of the mechanisms behind cross-country variations in the individual consequences of early job insecurity.

The findings were gathered through the distribution of surveys to recruiters, and took account of different markers of early job insecurity, such as unemployment, work experience in deskilling jobs and job hopping. The survey was implemented in five different occupational fields (manufacturing, finance, gastronomy, health and information technology), over four countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland).

Penalize applicants with experience in deskilling jobs

Among the main findings are the fact that recruiters penalize job applicants with extensive work experience in deskilling jobs (a job that doesn’t make use of or further train previously acquired qualifications).

The marker of unemployment is more harmful in countries with relatively low unemployment rates (Switzerland and Norway), although the scarring effects of unemployment remain lower in comparison to the effects of deskilling jobs. The strictness of employment protection legislations (which is higher in Norway) and a more pronounced dual VET system also affect the way recruiters consider the young applicants.

In Switzerland upper secondary vocational degree holders are more affected by unemployment scarring than higher education graduates. While in countries where VET credentials are to be trusted by employers to be high, VET graduates generally enjoy a higher employability they are the first ones to face unemployment scarring.

Problematic job hopping

As for the marker job hopping, it is to be considered more problematic than unemployment in all four of the surveyed countries. In Greece, 57% of the recruiters showed unconditional reservations towards job hoppers while only 9% towards the unemployed.

With regards to activities during non-employment, recruiters would value most when job applicants have used that period enrolled in occupation specific further education. No explanation on what a person has done during his or her period of unemployment is assessed strongly as being negative, especially in Norway and Switzerland.

Focus on quality jobs

These findings demonstrate that scarring effects resulting from various early job insecurities are not necessarily driven by the same institutional forces.

The fact that deskilling jobs appear to have strong negative consequences for young job applicants contributes to the debate on labour market activation policies.

Unemployment measures aiming at a quick labour market integration of the young unemployed without the consideration of job quality may not be a sustainable solution, as deskilling jobs may be dead-end jobs that don’t help to increase, but might even decrease young people’s employability.

Here you can find the full version of policy brief 6: Employers’ assessments of young job applicants: Findings from a comparative study.

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Scarring effects of early job insecurity in five European countries

by Ischi Graus

A new policy brief shows that bad luck in the timing of labour market entry can scar future careers of school leavers in countries across Europe.

The main objective of the Negotiate project is to investigate the long-term consequences of youth unemployment. The main findings show that on the macro-level bad luck in the timing of labour market entry can scar future careers of school leavers in countries across Europe over the long run.

The three in-depth country studies show both converging and complementary gender effects on the underlying process of scarring. However, more intersectional analyses of scarring processes is needed in which the interlocking effects of gender and education is taken into consideratio

With regards to the complexity of scarring, it appears that psychological wellbeing can act as both a consequence and as a moderator of scarring, which two of the researches on the complex relationship between employment experience and psychological wellbeing suggest.

The newly published policy brief covers the scarring effects of entering the labour market during a recession and being exposed to unemployment early in one’s career. This affects not only the short-term prospects, but may rather lead to long-term consequences for future job prospects and labour market integration.

The researchers involved in the project have simultaneously applied micro- and macro-level analyses drawing a differentiated and multifaceted picture of the scarring effects from a European comparative perspective. By using datasets such as the ‘European Labour Force Survey’ (EU-LFS) cross-national comparative results of long-term scarring were mapped, covering data from Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom to measure the aggregated employment insecurity and labour market entry experienced by different cohorts of school graduates.

The interesting thing about looking at data covering these five countries is that they differ greatly when it comes to the institutional and economic dimensions. These are assumed to lead to cross-nationally distinct patters in scarring effects: the vocational orientation of their educational systems, the strictness of employment protection legislation, their active labour market policies and the general prevalent youth unemployment.

All in all, there is no denying that entering the labour market at a bad time leads to adverse consequences for the careers of young people. However, there’s no consistent evidence for the expected impact of institutional and economic country contexts. This suggests that there is currently a theoretical deficit and hence a lack of really grasping the main drivers of scarring in different contexts.

Negotiate has expanded the knowledge of scarring mechanisms, and has identified a theoretical deficit in drivers under different contexts.

Accumulation of insecurity in the labour market over time is of importance to explain why some groups are more at risk of scarring than others. Therefore, when designing labour market regulations and active labour market policies the career trajectories should be taken into account rather than single jobs spells by focusing on trajectories instead of transitions, different approaches to and activation could emerge.

Read the policy brief: ‘Long term consequences of early job insecurity’.

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