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 Milestones

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

Elections in Europe: No risks for the EU, leaders readying to face Trump-Brexit

THE COMMITTEES: From the colonies to the space race – past, present, future converge in Fourth Committee

The key takeaways of G7 Summit in Canada

UN Security Council offers Yemen Special Envoy ‘their full support’

Baku forum to push back against ‘rise of hate’ with strong call for cultural and religious tolerance, says UN official

EU Commission: Banking and energy conglomerates don’t threaten competition!

Data protection: MEPs urge the Commission to amend UK adequacy decisions

Trash bin at the top of the world: can we prevent Arctic plastic pollution?

Addressing the consequences of digitalisation in the Russia & CIS region

The European Union is strengthening its partnership with Senegal with €27.5 million

On World Health Day, new report says the world needs 6 million more nurses

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

How to replace coal power with renewables in developing countries

Four in five adolescents failing to exercise for even 60 minutes a day, UN health agency warns

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

Water scarcity is a growing problem across the Middle East. Is this how we solve it?

Argentina’s agro-food sector is growing remarkably, but agriculture policies are not keeping pace

Brussels Vs. Google: The €1 bn EU fine and the US response

These are the world’s 10 most competitive economies in 2019

“Airbnb and YouTube are two great examples of a crowd based capitalism”, key stakeholders outline the boundaries of the 4th Industrial Revolution in Davos

Why remote working doesn’t have to mean alienated employees

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

A Sting Exclusive: “One year on from the VW scandal and EU consumers are still in the dark”, BEUC’s Head highlights from Brussels

State aid: Commission approves €150 million Austrian subordinated loan to compensate Austrian Airlines for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

Team Europe partners with Equity Bank to support Kenyan business and agriculture amid COVID-19

In 1975 NASA envisioned future life in space would look like this

The middle-class dream is moving beyond millennial reach

Team Europe: €34 billion disbursed so far to tackle COVID-19 in partner countries

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

Defence: European Commission paves the way for first joint industrial projects under EU budget

Joint EU-US Press Release on the Global Methane Pledge

An U.S.-EU Agenda for Beating the Global Pandemic: Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives Now, and Building Back Better Health Security

Your morning cup of coffee contains 140 litres of water

Monday’s Daily Brief: Nigeria massacre, Libya shelling condemned; recycled plastic used to build classrooms in Côte d’Ivoire

Gender Disparity in Medicine

First-ever UN report on disability and development, illustrates inclusion gaps

Statement by Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič on the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon

Accelerating SDG Progress in Asia – Pacific

UN expert ‘shocked’ by Egyptian reprisals against human rights defenders she met

Doctors vs. Industry 4.0: who will win?

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

Brazilian health: right or privilege?

Transport Committee approves major reform of road transport sector

The Ultimate Career Choice: General Practice Specialist

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

Commission reports on 2019 European elections: fostering European debates and securing free and fair elections

5 things you need to know about creativity

EU supports recovery and resilience in Nigeria with additional €50 million

COVID-19 underlines the importance of fintech in emerging markets

EU Youth Conference in Riga concludes with recommendations for ministers

Protecting the EU budget: European Public Prosecutor’s Office will start operating on 1 June

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

Facts and prejudices about work

Hopes for Palestinian State hit by ‘facts on the ground’ : senior UN official

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

How to build public trust in a sustainable energy future

Eritrea sanctions lifted amid growing rapprochement with Ethiopia: Security Council

Globalization 4.0 means harnessing the power of the group

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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