13th Apr 2024

Europeans expect bleak future, survey finds

  • Welfare line: most Europeans expect a difficult future (Photo: EUobserver)

Europeans expect a more difficult and uncertain future than their parents, involving working longer for less, according to an opinion poll released Friday (17 May).

Europeans now expect the next generation to have less job security, less job satisfaction, less secure pensions, earn lower salaries, spend less time with their families and have less comfortable housing than their parents' generation.

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The survey, carried out by polling company Gallup, involved 5,500 people from the six largest EU countries - Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Poland.

A majority of respondents in Poland, Germany and Spain described themselves as being "optimistic about the future of young people in Europe."

Poles were the most upbeat about their prospects, particularly in terms of getting a good job and pension, with 33 percent expecting to have a more satisfying job than their parents and 22 percent confident of a better pension.

Most Polish respondents also expected to live longer and in better health than their parents, and to enjoy more leisure activity in their free time.

In contrast, French, Spanish and Italians were most pessimistic about their economic future, with large majorities expecting to struggle to find well-paid work and a pension.

Ninety three percent of Italians expected to have a smaller pension, with 92 percent resigned to not having a secure job.

The figures show a sharp reduction in the number of Europeans who feel positive about their future.

A similar Gallup survey in 2011 found that a majority were confident about their long-term future despite weak economic growth.

Since then, the eurozone has slipped back into recession and unemployment has continued to climb.

Over 20 percent of Europeans aged 16-25 are out of work - the highest ever recorded figure across the EU.

Youth unemployment is now above one in two people in Spain and Greece.

The survey comes as governments across the EU are pushing ahead with deep cuts to public spending and increasing the retirement age.

Those EU countries to have received an emergency rescue from the eurozone have each been required to push through labour market reforms making it easier to dismiss workers and to reduce the number of public sector employees.

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