Let's talk youth, employment and Covid-19!

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Background

In the current economic climate, it is hard for people of all ages to find work. However, certain vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected by the jobs crisis, in particular young people.

Young people face specific challenges in the transition from school to work. Being new to the labour market, they are often employed on temporary and part-time contracts and carry out less protected and low-paid jobs. Therefore, and based on the demographics of workers in higher-risk industries, young people are set to be exceptionally affected by virus-related layoffs.

Based on data of previous economic downturns, research furthermore suggests that the cost of recessions for new graduates is substantial and unequal. Unlucky graduates suffer persistent earnings declines and face lifelong setbacks.

Despite Europe’s advanced social protection standards and comprehensive economic and social policy initiatives as a response to the Covid-19 economic slump, Europe's youth seems to fall through the safety nets. Policy measures as response to the crisis only scantily address the concerns of the European youth.

Summary

Many young Europeans face worrisome uncertainty of the future. Aspired future career plans might be obstructed and thus abandoned. As young Europeans ourselves, we want to leverage this momentum to raise awareness, spread optimism and create a sense of solidarity and community amongst European graduates, job entrants and young professionals between 15 to 30 years during this exceptional time and the months to come.

Already before the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic in Europe, more than 2.7 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU. We must intensify our discussions and explore tailored measures and substantial strategies to prevent a new spike in youth unemployment as a post-crisis outcome. For a whole generation of freshly graduated people, their early professional experience will be dominated by the COVID-19 fallout. We need to distinctly avert another Lost Generation and Depression Babies.

Relevance for the EESC

The latest developments amidst the Covid-19 epidemic enhance the need for consolidated advocacy in the name of and for European youth and young adults. The EESC voice to European youth and youth civil society and fostering the dialogue with policy makers, social partners and other civil society groups.

Desired Outcome & Objectives

  • Create a sense of solidarity and community amongst European young people, especially European graduates, apprentices, job entrants and young professionals between 15 to 30 years.
  • Give common voice to national youth/young entrepreneurs organizations to express their worries and concerns.
  • Raise societal and business community's awareness to prevent a spike in youth unemployment by developing long-term strategies for the post-pandemic economy.
  • Promote European initiatives (organized both by EU institutions and European civil society) providing opportunities and networks to job entrants and young entrepreneurs, social mobility programs, etc.
  • Collect and share best practices in order to scale up and multiply meaningful initiatives.
  • Create a research report and organize a WEBINAR as deliverables.