Thursday

19th Jan 2017

Young Europeans lack job skills, US consultancy says

  • Anti-austerity protesters: One in two young people in Spain cannot get a job (Photo: M. Martin Vicente)

Europe's young people lack the skills for work despite record levels of unemployment, according to a report by the US-based consultancy giant McKinsey

In its study, "Education to Employment," published on Monday (13 January), McKinsey said one in three firms feel that a lack of skills among Europe's youth posed major business problems, in the form of cost, quality, or time.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Meanwhile, 27 percent reported that they had left a vacancy unfilled over the past 12 months because they could not find anyone with the right skills.

Mckinsey surveyed more than 5,000 young people, 2,600 employers, and 700 higher education teachers across eight EU countries.

The list includes Germany and Sweden, which have some of the lowest jobless rates in the EU, as well as crisis countries Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Youth unemployment rates in Greece and Spain have tipped 50 percent. Overall, 24 percent of 16-24 year olds across the EU are not in work, training or education.

However, the report found that businesses in crisis countries reported the biggest problems, with 47 percent and 45 percent of Italian and Greek firms saying that a lack of skills is harming their interests.

The report argues that students are put off studying by the cost of living and a perceived bias against vocational courses. It also says that they struggle to make the transition from studying to work.

It calls for universities and colleges to break up degree or vocational programmes into individual modules that focus on building a particular set of skills while still counting toward a degree or formal qualification.

For their part, governments and banks should offer low-interest loans to students pursuing courses that lead towards a job, or set up schemes allowing young people to repay loans in the form of services, such as teaching other students.

The growing skills gap comes as labour markets move towards high-skilled jobs. A study for the European Commission in 2012 found that by 2025, 44 percent of employed people in the EU will be in a highly-skilled job, while only 11 percent of jobs are expected to be low-skilled ones.

Launching the report in a speech Monday (13 January), EU education commissioner Androulla Vasiliou said that the EU executive was "doing its utmost" to help countries overcome the skills gap.

She added that the commission initiative to establish a "European Area for Skills and Qualifications" would help ensure that qualifications and competences were recognised across the bloc.

EU leaders have also agreed to set up youth guarantee schemes from next year, backed by €8 billion from the EU budget to offer training or a job within four months to people in regions where youth unemployment is above one in four.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. EU cannot copy Australia's offshore asylum model
  2. Brexit men launch anti-EU website
  3. Germany details its 'Marshall Plan' for Africa
  4. IMF predicts 'pain' for UK, as banks prepare London exit
  5. EP deal could help Tusk keep Council job
  6. UN struggles to monitor fate of readmitted Syrians in Turkey
  7. European space chief: Moon village is 'more or less a fact'
  8. May's speech was not a war declaration, Malta says