Youth employment often depends on educational level

THE ECO SCAN – Young people aged 15 to 24 are working less and less. In the first quarter of 2015, only 28.3% of them had a job.

The government had made youth employment its priority. The goal is far from being achieved. In the first quarter of 2015, the number of young people (15-24 years) was 28.3%. That is a drop of 0.3 point over one year, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) published on Thursday. According to the OECD, in 2014, the employment rate was lower than that of the European Union (EU): 28.1% on average in 2014 against 32.5% on the whole of the old continent.

André Zylberberg, French economist, labor market specialist and emeritus research director at the CNRS affirms: “The cost of labor in France is one of the main obstacles”. In the United Kingdom, where the youth employment rate was 48.1% in 2014, the minimum wage varies according to age. Under Tony Blair, the Trade Union Congress unions, had asked for a young minimum wage, lower for young people under the age of twenty-one: one for the 18-20 age group, another, lower for that 16-17 years old, and the lowest, for apprentices. In Germany, the minimum wage was introduced at the start of the year for everyone, but the success of the apprenticeship partly influences the employment rate in this category, which stands at 46%.

“Unqualified young people are the first victims”

André Zylberberg, French economist, labor market specialist and emeritus research director at CNRS

“Unqualified young people are the first victims,” adds André Zylberberg. In the on inequalities, published this Thursday by the observatory of inequalities, facing unemployment, the diploma remains an essential asset for young people. Three years after the end of studies, the gaps widen depending on educational qualifications. In 2010, 79% of young people who obtained a bac +5 level diploma were on permanent contracts compared to 39% of non-graduates and 55% of CAP-BEP holders. On the other hand, among the bac + 5, only 17% of them were on fixed-term contract against 55% of the non-graduates and 40% for the holders of a CAP-BEP. “A double-speed labor market then begins to form between those who remain in precarious employment and the others (CDI and public service), vis-à-vis which the level of qualification plays an essential role”, comments l ‘observatory.

Could the low employment rate of this age category also be explained by departures abroad and prolonging studies? “It is not certain that this phenomenon is massive”, qualifies the economist.