Key lessons for supporting youth in their steps to work

Sonja Bekker, Wendy Wesseling, Ton Wilthagen, Nicoleta Balau

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The current labour market crisis shows the continued relevance to study youth unemployment. The corona crisis started as a health crisis, but is rapidly turning into an economic and social crisis. Young people as well as the low skilled will be among the first groups struggling with job loss and unemployment (Eurofound 2020a; Bekker 2020; Wilthagen 2020). The past financial crisis of around 2008-2014 has shown that growing youth unemployment coincides with a drop in demand for labour, and declining chances to get an internship (Chung et al., 2012; O'Reilly et al. 2018). Moreover, youth unemployment can be quite an enduring problem with severe personal, social and economic consequences. Therefore, lessons from the past crisis can be of great value when developing labour market policies to support youth in their steps towards work.

How to help young people attempting to enter the labour market? This report brings together key lessons from a range of studies. To this end, the report goes beyond studying single interventions. It also includes international comparative studies to labour market policies for youth. Moreover, the report sketches the wider relevance for societies to invest in programmes that support youth. A poor start on the labour market has a long-term effect on income, debt, housing, home ownership, and the formation of relationships and families. Well-being is also at stake. This should encourage policy-makers to timely and even structurally invest in programmes for youth, building on social as well as economic arguments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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