Youth Unemployment in Poland

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The financial crisis of 2008 continues to affect the economies of all the European Union member states. The impact has been profound, bringing about not only a decline in GDP and ravaging labour markets, but also a change in the shape of public finances. From the social perspective, one of the most important effects of the crisis has been the sharp increase in unemployment since 2008, especially among young people. This is also the case in Poland where the level of youth unemployment has increased significantly since 2008. However, this rise was not as dramatic as in other countries due to the fact that the Polish labour market was characterised by a comparatively high level of youth unemployment prior to 2008. What has changed dramatically since 2008 is the nature of youth employment, the most typical development being the growth of precarious employment based on fixed-term contracts, especially among the youngest workers. The aim of this paper is to explore these issues in more detail, with a particular focus on the dynamics of the labour market: unemployment, employment and inactivity rates over the past decade. Attention will also be paid to the nature of atypical employment and the consequences of this form of contractual agreement for employment pathways and financial wellbeing. The paper also focuses on the transition from the education system to the labour market for young adults, with an emphasis on skills mismatches. The important problem of the lack of interest among employers in shaping the skills of young people through vocational education and in-work training will also be considered. This situation is bring about a segmentation of the labour market, with the majority of young workers occupying less stable and low-paid positions.


Michal Polakowski

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