Negotiate Overcoming early job-insecurity in Europe
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Assessing policy strategies

by Greta Juul

The NEGOTIATE policy brief no. 7 focuses on assessing European and national policy strategies to combat early job insecurity and youth unemployment.

Coordination of European strategies to tackle early job insecurity and youth unemployment: Lessons from a comparative study, written by Irene Dingeldey and the German team

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 is 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).

As many experts at European level understand the YG to be a structural reform, an important aim of NEGOTIATE’s research has been to assess the initiation of institutional reforms and the quality of coordination as an impact of the YG in the Member States.

Policy recommendations for the EU
At European level, significant advances have been made in promoting country-specific goal-setting, mutual learning and monitoring in relation to the YG. However, many measures and structural reforms that have been implemented in the Member States only develop their impact in the long-run.

It is essential to safeguard the progress already made and to keep on encouraging the Member States to make further progress in some areas, e.g. to complete the reforms already initiated, but also to deliver com-parable data to monitor labour market developments. Therefore, it is necessary that the YG continues to be supported in upcoming financing periods of the ESF.


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Unemployment, drugs and attitudes among European youth

by Ischi Graus

A new paper shows that young people’s drug abuse is connected to the opportunities afforded in the local labour market.

The paper is written by S. Ayllón and N. N. Ferreira-Batista, University of Girona, and is forthcoming in the Journal of Health Economics.

Based on the analysis of young people (aged 15-24 years) in 28 European countries, the paper looks at the extent to which changes in the labour market translate into changes in the patterns of drug consumption and attitudes towards drugs.

According to the young people interviewed in the Eurobarometer surveys, during a severe economic crisis when unemployment is high, anti-drug policies should aim at the reduction of poverty and employment instead of focusing their efforts on stricter measures against drug users.

During the recent Great Recession, the consumption of cannabis and ‘new substances’ is found to have increased in parallel with the unemployment rate. While at the same time, more and more young people perceive that access to drugs, especially ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, becomes harder.

On the other hand, young people do not seem to change their opinions when it comes to the health risk of using drugs in association with changes in the state of the labour market.

The paper points out that the effects of the Great Recession are not only limited within the boundaries of the labour market but reach beyond.

In addition, it underlines the relation between the health of both the labour market and that of its young people – as soon as career prospects worsen, special attention should be given to drug consumption – because the effects are not solely economical. Most importantly, young people’s drug abuse is connected to the opportunities afforded in the local labour market.

Here you can read the full version of the paper ‘Unemployment, drugs and attitudes among European youth’ by S. Ayllón (@ayllonsara) and N. N. Ferreira-Batista (@natnfb), University of Girona.

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Negotiating transition to adulthood in economic hard times

by Ischi Graus

A new NEGOTIATE working paper focuses on what could be done in order to help young people in their transition to adulthood in times of an economic crisis.

The report uses data from United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland.

The paper, based on the research conducted by Stoilova and colleagues from the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge (ISSK) in Bulgaria, consists of three main parts:

Education works

Firstly the report explores the influence of the institutional (stratification, vocational preference, standardization) and structural (expansion of education, development of lifelong learning, expenditure on education) features of the educational system on early job insecurity. It shows that the vocational specificity of upper secondary education positively influences individuals’ capacity to find employment and avoid early job insecurity.

The report reveals that whereas the standardisation of output in educational systems decreases early job insecurity, the standardisation of input is associated with increased early job insecurity. The educational expansion also has a positive effect and decreases early job insecurity: in countries that invest more money in education, the index levels of early job insecurity are lower and the odds of young people working part-time jobs also decrease.

Family before work?

The second part of the report focuses on cultural gender values, time spent on housework, and factors influencing early childbirth. The analysis shows that belonging to a minority group, having a child, living with a partner, and either being unemployed or inactive are factors that increased the likelihood of women agreeing that women should be prepared to cut down on paid work for the sake of the family.

Of the individual factors influencing attitudes towards gender roles, the most significant is education. Women with a higher level of education did not agree that women should leave work to care for the family; by contrast, women with lower levels of education did agree with this assertion, as did men with lower levels of education. Higher education levels increased the importance of Work Life Balance (WLB) in job selection among men, while lower education levels among women decreased the importance of WLB.

Financial assistance too low

The third part looked at subjective assessments of the young people in seven countries and the institutional support they had received while they were unemployed. In all countries under study, regardless of welfare regime types, this support is assessed by most interviewees as not suitable or adequate to the situation of young people. Through the interviews it appeared that financial assistance is important, but it was considered too low and inadequate for an independent life. As for housing benefits they were assessed as valuable, but not enough. Financial aid as a form of support appeared to be most important to ethnic minority groups, the long-term unemployed and single mothers.

Internship prolong employment insecurity

The young people interviewed also stated that the internship opportunities provided in the framework of active labour market policies only contributed to enhancing the chances of getting temporary employment but did not do the trick of getting them out of employment insecurity. The need for personal support and career guidance is evident from the interviews in nearly all countries.

Based on the findings resulting from the research, a number of policy recommendations have been made up which you can find in the ‘NEGOTIATE working paper no. 5.4 on ‘NEGOTIATE working paper no. 5.4 on Negotiating transition to adulthood in economic hard times’ by Rumiana Stoilova, Pepka Boyadjieva, Petya Ilieva-Trichkova and Veneta Krasteva.


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A complex problem – different policy responses

by Greta Juul

A new article deals with the problem of youth unemployment in Europe and illustrates different policy responses with examples from Spain, the Czech Republic and Germany.

First of all, a variety of causes and consequences of youth unemployment are lined out. Subsequently, important aspects of youth unemployment policy – the training system, institutionalisation of public employment services (PES) as well as the regulation of social transfers in case of unemployment – are discussed in the three countries.

On that basis three types of school-to-work transition (STW) regimes are stated: Spain is an example for the solitary STW transition regime, a guided STW transition system can be found in the Czech Republic and Germany presents a typical case for the systematic STW transition regime.

The activating labour market policy approach corresponds with the respective ST transition regime.

In the solitary system high unemployment rates and low support from the social systems coexist. The labour market policy targets at a quick integration into the labour market (work-first).

The guided system has a comprehensive predominantly school-based training system and the activating labour market policy is work-first oriented.

In countries with systematic transitions the training system works as a bridge between school and training. Labour market policy for young people follows an enabling approach and aims at pre-vocational training measures to support the young to achieve a vocational training qualification in the long-term.

Dingeldey, Irene; Assmann, Marie-Luise; Steinberg, Lisa (2017): Jugendarbeitslosigkeit in Europa. Ein komplexes Problem – verschiedene Antworte. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Beilage zur Wochenzeitung das Parlament (APuZ, 26/2017), p. 40-46.

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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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