Youth Unemployment in Greece

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Greece, hard hit both as an economy and a society by the current economic crisis, is particularly affected by youth unemployment. Youth labour force participation in Greece has traditionally been one of the lowest in Europe. Moreover, this happens in the context of an old-fashioned education system which struggles to carry on a successful dialogue with the business world and meet its needs. There is a cohort of young people who are neither economically active nor involved in high quality skill-building. On one hand, this means there is little prospect of enhanced productivity among newly trained skilled labour; on the other hand, due to self-selection those young people who have the best potential for high skills and raising productivity are likely to go abroad for education and/or work. The resulting permanent loss of a young talented workforce is a drain on the country’s productive mechanisms. This situation is further aggravated by the traditionally worse situation of young people outside the economic locomotive of the Attica region. Young people in rural, remote and mountainous areas suffer even higher exposure to the potential scars of youth unemployment over their lifetime. The country has taken a number of steps which have partial alleviated these problems. National employment policy programmes - such as programmes funded under EU Structural Funds, the Equal Community Initiative financed by the European Social Fund and local re-qualification and training institutions - are among the vocational training measures targeted at young people from remote regions. As part of the political effort to tackle regional disparities, the University of Peloponnesus has been turned into a focal point for preserving this region of Greece from a depopulation of young people due to the rush towards educational opportunities in the capital. The recent crisis has proved to be a context for favourable reform of the education structure. Long-delayed changes in the budgeting and management of universities were finally introduced and are slowly entering into force. The report begins with an analysis of inactive and active Greek youth, followed by a deeper analysis of youth unemployment and who the unemployed young people in Greece are in terms of gender and regional concentration. The consequences of youth unemployment as well as the socio-economic, political and technological context are considered to produce a strategic analysis of the ways of combating youth unemployment in Greece.


Annie Tubadji

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