European Youth Portal
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Young people compared throughout the Union? Usually close to the average

Znalezienie w Polsce etatu na stałe graniczy z cudem (fot. Adrian Serghie)
Do you have the impression that Polish youth are in the worst situation? Then you have another think coming… because the majority of statistics paint a very different picture.

You can, of course, say that there are lies, damned lies and statistics, because statistically, you and your dog have three legs each. You may, however, find it difficult to answer the question if there is anything better than Eurostat statistics when it comes to presenting the general situation in particular countries. So before you shake your head– read on!


The most important statistics relating to young people in Europe show that the situation of our country is close to the EU average or even a bit better. For example, in Poland youth unemployment amounts to18.2% versus 18.6% in the euro zone and as much as 47.5% in some countries in the worst situation (Greece). Countries where young people can easily find work are usually those which are the richest (Germany, Austria; Denmark, Luxembourg). However, the Czech Republic ranking so high is food for thought.


In terms of long-term unemployment the situation is similar. Our country is doing not only better than the euro zone average, but also than the whole EU. Only 6.9% of persons aged 20-29 years old stay out of work for longer than 12 months. We are followed by such countries as Spain, Italy, Portugal or Ireland.


Poland’s situation is even better in terms of risk of poverty or social exclusion. Although the percentage of people affected by that is relatively very high (24.8%), it is even higher in most EU countries, including not only ex-Communist countries such as Bulgaria (46.2%), Romania (42.3%) or Latvia (31.8%), but also Great Britain (29.3%) or Germany (27.8%). The Czech Republic seems to be a relative safe haven. In that country only 14.9% of people aged 20-29 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.


To what does Poland owe this relatively decent position in the above rankings? It may be due to the level of education and the immense popularity of higher education in our country. The percentage of Polish young graduates (although today’s degrees do not rank so high as those from 10 or 20 years ago) is 29.7% Weare better than Sweden, Denmark or Portugal in this field. The EU’s average is 26% and the highest percentage of young graduates in their twenties has been noted in Cyprus (45.4%).


However, there is also a different explanation: the Polish unemployment level is decent as the majority of young people accept temporary employment contracts. The percentage of those employed on such contracts in the highest in the EU, amounting to as much as 49.5%. But experts cannot agree whether or not this statistics should be a cause for concern. On the one hand – a temporary contract precludes its holder from taking out a loan and starting a family. On the other hand, it enables them to gain experience and that’s something unemployed people can only dream about.

Published: Tue, 09/12/2014 - 16:23

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