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Young people in Europe

Young people in Europe: Labour markets and citizenship

Harriet Bradley
Jacques van Hoof
Copyright Date: 2005
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  • Book Info
    Young people in Europe
    Book Description:

    In a period of rapid social and economic change, labour markets are undergoing major transformations. This book explores the changing fortunes of young people in Europe's flexible and precarious labour markets and the range of policies that are being developed to help them deal with the problems they face. The book draws on recent research carried out across Europe to highlight a number of key dilemmas for youth policy: what help is needed for young people and their parents in coping with lengthened transitions from school to work? What types of training and education are most effective? Is a switch from general to vocational education needed? Is workfare the right solution? The contributors, who are all leading authorities in the field, challenge the conventional wisdom in many of these areas. The book will be of interest to those researching and studying labour markets and youth policy, and to policy-makers and practitioners in these fields.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-125-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Notes on contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Jacques van Hoof and Harriet Bradley

    The starting point of the policy debate in Europe on youth, labour markets and citizenship is usually the existence of youth unemployment and the attendant risks of marginalisation for a sizable group of young people. That unemployment may endanger the integration of young people into the labour market and, by consequence, their transition to independent adulthood and full citizenship, is a disturbing thought for politicians and scientists alike. It is a reason for several policy initiatives addressed specifically at the reduction of youth unemployment in both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Europe. It lies behind the recent efforts of the...

  7. Part One: The reconstruction of youth citizenship

    • ONE Youth in the labour market: citizenship or exclusion?
      (pp. 15-40)
      Herwig Reiter and Gary Craig

      The work/welfare nexus is still a subject of political dispute and redefinition. So are the criteria for the societal recognition of different kinds of work-related activities throughout the life course as well as the relations between life-course stages. The particular implications for the nature and quality of citizenship of young people exposed to the rules of a youth labour market embedded in a welfare context provide the general frame of reference for the discussion in this chapter, setting the scene for the more specific chapters that follow. The aim of this chapter is to identify the specific tensions and contradictions...

    • TWO Social protection policies for young people: a cross-national comparison
      (pp. 41-62)
      Gill Jones

      The transition to adulthood has become more complex, more extended, more expensive and more imbued with risk. The different strands of transition (education to employment, family formation, housing and household transitions) each require increasing financial resources. Whether in education, training or the labour market, young people are generally not able to take economic responsibility for themselves: the costs are too high and their incomes too low. This means that they may need to seek economic support either from their families or from the state. As youth has been extended, the need for economic support has become greater, and the question...

  8. Part Two: Changing labour markets:: inclusion and exclusion

    • THREE Young people and their contemporary labour market values
      (pp. 65-80)
      Wim Plug and Mancula du Bois-Raymond

      As the previous chapters have stressed, the transformation of the labour market during the past few decades has been the subject of many discussions. In the Netherlands as well as other Western European countries, processes of globalisation and the rise of information and communication technology have changed the functioning of the labour market. New professions have come up and existing ones have changed profoundly or vanished altogether, and organisations require new attitudes from their workers (de Beer, 2001). The job for life seems to be past perfect; instead, employees should commit themselves to lifelong learning to keep up their level...

    • FOUR Youth unemployment and job-seeking behaviour in Europe
      (pp. 81-98)
      José Luis Álvaro and Alicia Garrido Luque

      For quite some time youth unemployment has been a much-debated issue in the European Union. Although long-term unemployment brings the risk of economic and social marginalisation for everyone who is affected by it, the idea that young people, who are only beginning their transition to adulthood, can become marginalised in the labour market is particularly disturbing. In the five European countries that are included in this chapter, rates of youth unemployment are above general unemployment rates in all cases, and are twice the general figure in the majority of cases (Finland, Sweden, Scotland, Spain and Germany). Young Spaniards are one...

    • FIVE Winners and losers: young people in the ‘new economy’
      (pp. 99-114)
      Harriet Bradley

      There has evolved in Europe a popular rhetoric of winners and losers linked to the changing labour markets of the ‘new economy’ of Europe and the advanced capitalist economies. This chapter picks up this idea, already explored by Plug and du Bois-Reymond in Chapter Three. While it is commonly stated that major social and economic changes are under way, involving the advancement of some groups and the decline of others, there is little systematic empirical evidence concerning such changes. For example, two major chroniclers of such change, Richard Sennett (1998) and Ulrich Beck (2000), have spoken of the tide of...

    • SIX Young people in the labour market in Hungary and Slovenia: problems and perspectives
      (pp. 115-136)
      Klára Fóti, Martina Trbanc and Miroljub Ignjatović

      Economic, political and social systems in post-socialist countries have undergone major transformation as a consequence of transition from a planned to a market economy and of a democratisation process. The complexity of these systems, however, derives not only from the changes themselves, but also from the combination of the transition process and some more general trends in the world economy, such as increasing competitive pressures caused by globalisation and structural changes in the sphere of work. The latter include higher pressure on competitiveness and efficiency, flexibilisation of work arrangements and employment relations, and a shift from industrial to service sector...

    • SEVEN Excluded youth or young citizens? Ethnicity, young people and the labour market in three EU countries
      (pp. 137-160)
      Gary Craig, Hans Dietrich and Jerome Gautié

      This chapter examines the process of entry into the labour market for young people of differing ethnicities in three countries – the UK, France and Germany – with differing traditions, legal frameworks and understandings of citizenship. Discrimination based on ethnic origin and skin colour is a common feature of national labour markets throughout Europe and this structures the opportunities that young people have as they leave school, the choices open to them in education, employment and training, qualifications and career prospects. Discrimination against minorities within labour market structures and institutions is only just beginning to be addressed in some European countries and...

    • EIGHT Activation or alienation: youth unemployment within different European welfare communities
      (pp. 161-182)
      Jan Carle and Torild Hammer

      What we would like to explore in this chapter is the possibility of discussing political behaviour among young unemployed people within the framework of theories of welfare, citizenship and trust. The argument for this discussion is based on four different explanatory perspectives often used within research on youth unemployment. One perspective explores unemployment as astatistical phenomenon. Within this context young people’s political views, attitudes and actions are mainly understood on the basis of the numbers of unemployed and the duration of unemployment. The second sort of explanation focuses onyoung people’s life situation, putting the emphasis on the influence...

  9. Part Three: Policy options

    • NINE Vocational education and the integration of young people in the labour market: the case of the Netherlands
      (pp. 185-204)
      Jacques van Hoof

      In the eyes of many European governments, vocational education and training (VET) has become a strategic policy domain. It is seen as a central element in a strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the economy. A general upgrading of skills should be the answer to the competition from low-wage countries in a globalising economy (Crouch et al, 1999). At the same time VET is considered the best way to integrate young people into the labour market. In this way it has also become an important element of policy to prevent marginalisation and guarantee citizenship for young people. Ideologically this policy...

    • TEN Young people’s transitions between education and the labour market: the Italian case
      (pp. 205-226)
      Francesca Bianchi

      There is now widespread consensus that in a globalised society knowledge has become the most important commodity of exchange. Indeed, along with technological growth, the valorisation of information has marked every sector. Policy makers also recognise the value of this collective good, acknowledging that the quality of a nation’s human resources is at least as important for national growth as the quantitative level of income it produces.

      The nature and development of the professional skills needed in today’s labour market have also changed. From an individual perspective these new skills particularly concern the capacity to handle progressive autonomy in terms...

    • ELEVEN Integration into work through active labour market policies in different welfare state regimes
      (pp. 227-242)
      Ira Malmberg-Heimonen and Ilse Julkunen

      In the great majority of the EU countries, the principal emphasis in social policy has been on tackling the risk of social exclusion after people have become unemployed (Gallie, 2002). Increasing youth unemployment levels have resulted in training and labour market schemes becoming significant policy instruments across Europe (Dietrich, 2003).

      Generally, labour market schemes aim at preventing labour market marginality through maintaining and strengthening the individual’s working capacity by improving his or her chances of finding employment. There is continuing debate on whether these activating programmes do, in fact, have these effects and whether they have an impact on more...

    • CONCLUSION Fractured transitions: the changing context of young people’s labour market situations in Europe
      (pp. 243-258)
      Harriet Bradley and Jacques van Hoof

      This volume has sought to shed light on the changing fortunes of young people in Europe’s labour markets and has highlighted a number of key policy dilemmas. The evidence we have amassed has shown how young people are at the sharp end of global economic change: it is they, rather than their elders, who experience the flexibility and precariousness described by Richard Sennett (1998). They are more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be in dead-end jobs and nonstandard work, are less well paid and have more difficulty settling into long-term careers. Bianchi’s chapter on Italy (Chapter Ten) offers...

  10. References
    (pp. 259-286)
  11. Index
    (pp. 287-294)