Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Unemployment among young people in the EU has risen very sharply since the breakout of the financial crisis in 2008, reaching unprecedented levels. However, for over a decade the unemployment rate of young people in the EU remained approximately at double the rate of the overall unemployment in the economy while, at the same time, the use of flexible, fixed-term contacts and alternative forms of employment has been increasing.

This has resulted in growing job insecurity and systematic labour market and social exclusion of young people at the very beginning of their professional careers with many of them moving directly from education to unemployment or taking up temporary jobs below their qualifications. The crisis has exacerbated this trend raising the threat of a 'lost generation' in particular in some European countries, as social disadvantages of young unemployed are multi-faceted, including for example higher risk of poverty, precarity and social exclusion, disaffection, insecurity, higher propensity towards offence and crime, as well as health problems. This concerns both EU citizens as well as third country nationals or second generation migrants. A comprehensive understanding of the long-term consequences of these developments is therefore crucial for successful economic, social and labour market policies that could address in a comprehensive way this problem now and in the future.

Scope: The research will make a profound analysis of the situation of young people in the labour market across the EU in a comparative perspective. In particular, research should investigate the important differences in the performance of the labour markets, anticipatory social work and youth services measures that exist across Member States and their underlying factors, especially from the young people point of view, in order to identify the most effective ways of labour market organisation and improving the education systems and social policy. Taking specifically into account the gender perspective and most vulnerable groups of young people, research will also investigate the economic, social, personal and psychological consequences of early job insecurity, labour market and social exclusion in the short, medium and long term. This could include for example such issues as income situation throughout the life course, establishing an independent household, family formation, physical and mental health and wellbeing as well as the effects of preventive social work with the youth, focused on the most disadvantaged groups. In this context, research could take into account the experiences of past generations which were exposed to high unemployment and job insecurity in their youth.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1.5 and 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Research is expected to provide a comprehensive analysis of the short- and long-term consequences of job insecurity and unemployment of young people and to identify their impact on the economy, society and politics. These activities will contribute to an effective anticipation of the potential challenges facing the EU in the future allowing for an early policy response. Through a better understanding of the mechanisms driving the labour market, this research should lead to a more robust and inclusive labour market policy in the EU as well as to a better evidence-based economic, social and education policies. Activities under this topic will also shed light on broader societal questions related, for example, to poverty dynamics, demographic developments, consequences of migration, population ageing, inclusion of young people from particularly vulnerable groups, health and wellbeing, as well as the potential of economic development in the EU, both from the historical and the forward-looking perspective.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions 

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