Mobile young people create the European labour market of tomorrow

European Youth Insights is a platform provided by the European Youth Forum and the European Sting, to allow young people to air their views on issues that matter to them. Written by Emanuel Alfranseder

Emanuel Alfranseder represents the Erasmus Student Network in the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe

Emanuel Alfranseder represents the Erasmus Student Network in the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe

There are simply too many young people out of work, out of education and out of any kind of training (they call them NEETs). Solving this existential crisis of the young is one of the most pressing challenges of today. We are losing a generation that is arguably the most well-educated generation in history. If you look around in Europe, the burden is not equally shared. Young Germans suffer much less than young Spaniards or young Greeks. There are not enough jobs in Spain, Greece and other European countries in dire economic conditions. I say, young people should go where the jobs are – because there are jobs in Europe. This is not to say that an increasing number of young people aren’t moving; they have in fact been starting to move where the jobs are. However, the numbers are too small to make a real difference. The reason is that most young people simply are not prepared to move abroad for work. This has to change and we need to prepare young people better to be able to be more mobile labour market participants.

There are many ways to argue why a more flexible labour market is beneficial for Europe’s economy. The faster human resources are re-allocated and do not lie idle and unproductive, the better for economic output and employment. This argument is true for any economic area. For the EU and in particular for the members sharing a common currency, a flexible labour market is an essential cornerstone of a strong economy. The Euro has many advantages, but one big disadvantage, that has become increasingly visible, is the lack of flexibility of monetary policy and the resultant one-size-fits-all policy. This one-size-fits-all monetary policy contributes to the major imbalances that we see today: Some economies are strong and vital whereas others are in continued recession with unacceptably high (youth) unemployment rates. If workers are very flexible and quickly move from economically weak to strong countries, these imbalances tend to disappear.

I don´t want to argue that everyone should move abroad for work. Many see their lives in their home countries and it cannot be a solution to force everyone to leave their native country. This is not needed either. The point is that there are a lot of young people who are willing to leave, at least temporarily, and look for work elsewhere. However, they are often not prepared for leaving. First comes often the psychological barrier. People who have never experienced living abroad are much less likely to take a leap of faith and overcome the initial fear and insecurity. The second issue is in many cases the lack of language skills. English is the lingua franca of today and it opens many doors all around Europe. Proficiency in English has to have a much higher priority than it has in some places in Europe today. English is surely not enough, but I believe that we need to start from the English skills of young people. Once young people have mastered to gain proficiency in English, learning additional languages becomes easier.

One solution tackles both the lack of experience abroad and the lack of English and other language skills: Youth mobility. We need to get the young ones moving; the sooner, the longer and more often, the better. The Erasmus programme, mainly known for its student mobility part (the new Erasmus+ programme includes mobility for many others as well), is surely a success story. It has to be continued and further improved. More needs to be done for those not eligible for the programme and those who do not secure a spot in at times competitive selections. Not only mobility during higher education is beneficial. Pupils, apprentices, trainees and young volunteers equally benefit and learn during mobility experiences. A particular focus on young people from less privileged backgrounds and young people with special needs is essential.

A truly European labour market will only become reality if we prepare all young people for it, not just an elite proportion. Mobile young people of today are the mobile workers of tomorrow.

About the author

Emanuel Alfranseder represents the Erasmus Student Network in the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe. He currently studies for his PhD in Economics at Lund University. Born and raised in Germany, he has also lived, studied and worked in Lithuania, Spain, Belgium and Sweden. He is passionate about intercultural dialogue, mobility and education.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’: Guterres

COVID-19: Revised rules to encourage banks to lend to companies and households

Building an Inclusive ICT Innovation Ecosystem

Four million have now fled Venezuela, UN ramps up aid to children who remain

‘Never give up’: UN chief urges all who serve, marking UN Day

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

‘We won’t get to zero cases of Ebola without a big scale-up in funding,’ UN relief chief warns

Tenants ‘forced out their homes’ by global investment firms, say UN experts

Parliament: Last compromise on bank single resolution mechanism

UN rights chief urges ‘immediate dialogue’ to end Chile unrest

‘Preserve, revitalize and promote’ indigenous languages, or lose a ‘wealth of traditional knowledge’, UN chief says

Boosting the EU’s green recovery: Commission invests €1 billion in innovative clean technology projects

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

Global Goals offer ‘special opportunity’ to change course of development, Bosnian leader tells General Assembly

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

EU unfolds strategy on the Egypt question

OECD household income up 0.7% in first quarter of 2018, outpacing GDP growth

6 ways to future-proof universities

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

Fairer, simpler, more flexible EU farm policy: MEPs vote on post-2020 reform

What the Corn Laws tell us about Brexit Britain

Millions of young lives at risk due to humanitarian funding shortfall: UNICEF

5 rules for making employers and employees trust each other again

With science ‘held back by a gender gap’, Guterres calls for more empowerment for women and girls

Can the next financial crisis be avoided?

What will the US look like under Trump? Was his election campaign a big scam?

Do doctors need to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity?

COVID-19: ‘Top priority’ must be on containment, insists WHO’s Tedros

We need to rethink neuroscience. And you can help us

Alexandre in Czech Republic

On World Bee day, human activity blamed for falling pollinator numbers

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

On the Global Day of Parents, UNICEF is urging support for parents to give children ‘the best start in life’

Inaction over climate emergency ‘not an option’ says UN Assembly chief

The European Youth raises their voices this week in Brussels at Yo!Fest 2015

What is an immunity passport and could it work?

Technology can help solve the climate crisis – but it will need our help

Get out, stay out: how financial resilience helps end poverty

Why is the EU launching a doomed policy in stopping immigrant waves? What are the real targets?

These are the 5 most exciting cycling projects in the world

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres in Kenya, Prisoners sick in Iran, #GlobalGoals, Myanmar, Ukraine updates, and new space partnership

Maros Sefcovic Canete European Commission Energy

Better late than never? Commission runs now to fight energy dependency on Russia with the sustainable energy security package

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Greater investment in family-friendly policies critical to support breastfeeding – UNICEF

This Pacific island has banned fishing to allow the marine ecosystem to recover

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Towards the new era of medicine

The dirty secret of electric vehicles

Taxation: Commission refers Germany to the Court for its failure to apply EU rules on VAT for farmers

The anti-vaccine movement shows the peril of a post-truth world

Canada grants asylum for Saudi teen who fled family: UNHCR

A Sting Exclusive, the European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger writes for the Sting on “EU Industry: a major energizer”

‘Continuing absence’ of political solution to Israel-Palestine conflict ‘undermines and compounds’ UN efforts to end wholesale crisis

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

Here’s how to help India’s rural population go digital

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s