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Arduous employment prospects for young workers in Spain


An OECD paper about Spanish employment situation establishes that Spain has one of the highest shares of the youth population who are neither in employment nor in

education or training. There is a risk that these young people become excluded from the labour market.

In the first quarter of 2011, about 20% of 15-24 years old youth have neither been in employment nor in education or training. This number is especially high and has more than doubled since 2007 for those young people who are between 20 and 24 years old.

In contrast to most other OECD countries, the largest share of youth neither in employment nor in education or training are unemployed and not inactive. This can be explained by a high incidence of young people moving from one short-term temporary contract to another, frequently interspersed with unemployment spells.

There are two crucial policy priorities to improve employment prospects for youth in Spain. First, in the very short term, there is need for quick action to target welldesigned active labour market programmes to the most disadvantaged youth and provide more job-search assistance and guidance for all youth experiencing difficulties in finding a job in the current labour market. Second, the current crisis is an opportunity to tackle some of the structural weaknesses in the Spanish youth labour market. This implies in particular reforms to prevent youth from dropping out of education at a very early stage and to improve the school to work transition of young people.

Key issues are to better match skills acquired in education to those asked for by businesses, as well as to establish an effective system of vocational education, and to reduce remaining demand side barriers, notably labour market duality and a rigid collective bargaining system, which both have prevented an efficient allocation of labour resources in the past and a flexible adjustment during the crisis.

This Working Paper relates to the 2012 OECD Economic Survey of Spain 

Of interest