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Education to Employment: Getting Europe’s Youth into Work

McKinsey & Company. Education to Employment: Getting Europe’s Youth into Work. 2014. Pages: 118.

The report deals with substantial issues concerning Europe’s high youth unemployment rate and the difficulties encountered by young graduates with post-secondary education as regards education to employment transition. Following the methodology used in a previously published report in 2012 and based on a data set involving eight countries (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), 5 300 young people, 2 600 employers and 700 post-secondary education institutions, the report gives an in-depth analysis of structural problems behind youth unemployment. The study is structured in three chapters and gives an additional summary of country profiles, following four central questions.

  • What are the reasons for youth unemployment in Europe?
  • What obstacles does the youth encounter in their transition from education to employment?
  • Which groups struggle the most?
  • What can be done about this problem?

The authors identify structural problems as the cause for Europe’s high youth unemployment rate. In addition to an overall stagnating economy and a significant skills mismatch between offer and demand, the participation rate of older generations in the labour market is higher than a decade before, causing hampering access for recent graduates. Throughout the education to employment transition, the study finds obstacles at the stage of entrance to university mainly due to living costs, obstacles within university concerning the development of the right skills, and obstacles at the final stage of job-seeking due to lack of career-support activities from universities. In order to determine which groups are the most effected by the current unemployment situation, the authors subdivide recent graduates and employers in different segments. Young graduates are grouped according to their practices, their perceptions and educational achievement; this shows that graduates with a low access of support for education to employment path are particularly affected. With regard to employers, the study finds a specific problem concerning small and medium sized enterprises, which deplore difficulties in finding suitable and skilled employees. The report ends with recommendations such as improved financial support to cover living expenses, an overall more strategic choice of study and study programmes in line with labour market needs, and a bigger EU involvement by means of collecting and providing relevant data and sharing best practices.

McKinsey & Company - Report