European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

“Scars” of Unemployment in Society

Youth unemployment rate is twice as high as for adult and this situation can leave "scars" in our society.

Photo made by Eglė Gendrėnaitė


At all times the world has suffered from various sores – wars, diseases, upheavals, economic troubles, and today – youth unemployment, which has become a burning issue throughout Europe. Youth unemployment rate is twice as high as for adult, and the current average is more than 23 percent in the European Union. This rate exceeds 50 percent in Greece, Spain and Croatia. These numbers imply a serious threat to the economy of Europe as the EU market looses several billions of euros annually. Although, it is necessary to keep in mind the reverse of the medal: youth unemployment may have a negative long-term impact on the young man – the “scars”.


Young people, who are not in education, employment or training and want to enter the labor market, face a number of problems. To start with, it is difficult to find a foothold in the beginning of practice. Secondly, there is a lack of practice and knowledge. And thirdly, poor and inefficient work of institutions does not provide adequate support. Unfortunately, not everyone succeeds to cope with these difficulties. Therefore, a long-term unemployment and inactivity occur, which leaves the “scars” on the young person’s life and induces coming to the terms with the situation.


At the opening of EU Conference of Youth, the President of the Republic of Lithuania said that eventually “grumble becomes meaningless” if adequate means are not taken. Mass down streaming or young people coming to the terms with the situation causes not only high rates of unemployment but also dissatisfaction with the authority, passive participation in the national elections, not to mention EU elections, as well as little interest in the social work, social exclusion, increased rate of criminality, and problems of mental and physical health. Unemployed and not in education young people are less interested in political and social life, therefore, it is likely that the upcoming election for European Parliament in 2014 will receive a significant share of votes from youth. Loreta Senkutė, the President of Lithuanian Youth Council, says that a split of topics dominates, and the problems should be viewed as a whole rather than fragments. “Many reasons cause another reasons. For example, many years ago we started to talk about the increasing social exclusion and the possible outcomes – unemployment and problems of inclusion. However, at that time public spirit and education were relevant. It is not surprising that today Europe is suffering due to a high percentage of youth unemployment, and eventually we face the people, who are neither employed nor study, nor participate in the training. To my opinion, one of the key problems is the fragmentation and excessive breakdown looking only to its own field of work ” said the President of Lithuanian Youth Council Loreta Senkutė at the opening of EU Conference of Youth.


“Youth Guarantee” may help to avoid harmful and prolonged unemployment. It is an initiative that gives real and tangible opportunities for young people ensuring adequate youth employment and further career prospects. The aim is that young people under 25 would have the opportunity to receive attractive job offers, continue their education, and have an apprenticeship or internship within 4 months after graduation or job loss. Means to ensure the reduction of youth unemployment depend on the individual EU Member States. The ultimate goal is to have no young person without a chance to find a job.


You can find more information about “Youth Guarantee” on


And yet, youth unemployment is closely related to other burning issues that trouble whole Europe. Inveteracy of “scars of unemployment”, if no immediate and effective means are taken, becomes deeper and begins to take roots in the society and in the lives of young people.


Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, EUR-Lex


Young journalist Ingrida Jotkaitė, Eurodesk Lithuania