Youth employment, “quo vadis”?
Mr. Lazlo Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, has made youth employment one of the priorities of his mandate. In April 2014 he presented in Madrid the Youth Guarantee scheme backed by the Commission, and in July, in a debate held in the European Parliament on youth unemployment, he insisted on the need for all European countries to step up implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
The Youth Guarantee is an ambitious project presented by the European Commission in December 2012 based on the positive experiences of countries such as Finland and Austria. Broadly speaking, the main objective of the Youth Guarantee is to ensure that all young people under 25 get a good-quality offer for a job or training plan within 4 months of their leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.
In December 2013, Spain sent the European Commission the National Plan for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, which materialized in July 2014 with the publication and entry into force of Royal Decree-Law 8/2014, of July 4, 2014, approving urgent measures for growth, competitiveness and efficiency.
As can be seen in Royal Decree-Law 8-2014, the figures that justify the immediate implementation of the Youth Guarantee reveal how dramatic the situation really is: according to the Labor Force Survey, in 2013, of the total of 4,111,900 young people aged over 16 and less than 24 in Spain, 951,100 were unemployed and 845,500 were youths without an occupation that were not receiving an education or training.
To be a beneficiary of the National Youth Guarantee System (“SNGJ”) it is necessary to be registered with the SNGJ, a list which is already active on the website of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, and constitutes the official information and monitoring system of the Guarantee in Spain and, as such, the only list of demand for an offer and the means by which the persons interested will be attended.
The catalogue of measures established is divided into four large headings: measures to improve employability, measures to improve intermediation, measures to encourage entrepreneurship and measures to encourage hiring. The latter include, most notably, the establishment of large reductions in employer social security contributions (for example, a monthly reduction of €300 in contributions for nonoccupational contingencies, compatible with other incentives, for the indefinite-term hiring of beneficiaries of the SNGJ; a 50% reduction for hiring trainees, in addition to the 50% reduction established via the Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment Strategy, etc.).
Time and statistical data will allow us to assess the effectiveness of the measures applied and the Youth Guarantee as a whole.