Young people and work, the concern for a fragile future


Over the past 35 years the difficulties for young people in Italy to find work have greatly increased, in a market that has seen the rate of unemployment in the South become more than double.

This was revealed by the Istat, Italian statistics center, report of employed and unemployed that  had rebuilt this data from 1977 to 2012.

The report notes that in the past 35 years under review, “the average annual number of employees has grown from 19 million to nearly 23 million,” mainly due to the increased presence of women in the labor market, “a number that has increased from 6 million and 150 thousand to 9 million and 458 thousand women, a contribution that has brought total employment to rise from 31.5% to 41.3%. ”

At the top of the ranking of the difficulties of young people, graduates or undergraduates, in entering the labor market is the ‘reluctance of companies to hire’ (26%). So-called ‘blocked turnovers’ (25%) due to ‘little experience’ (16%).

But the most significant data is that for as for as many as 56% of them, their university degrees were not enough to find a job.

What is missing, according to the affected youth, is a ‘bridge’ that puts young people in touch with businesses and internships that are turned into employment  One out of three people is asking companies for more  ‘meritocracy and more integration into business projects’.

To the question “Would you leave Italy to go abroad?” the survey shows that only 24% of young people would go abroad; 16% of graduates would like to stay in Italy to succeed and find a future in what they feel is their country.

While the young adults ,in advanced modern societies, have the increasing desire and the opportunity to build their way of life in a creative and strategic manner, on the other hand  complexity and insecurity tends to make them especially cautious in making final, binding and empowering decisions. Even more so in countries with weak welfare and national institutions that are unable to stem the potentially negative effects of the rapidly changing social, demographic and economic trends (including the  current great crisis), the younger generations have more difficulties in finding employment, in achieving their economic autonomy and stabilizing their professional careers and life.

However, it is quite clear that the ability to have a fully successful transition from along the path to adulthood depends greatly on the welfare and prosperity of society itself. If the younger generation can’t achieve such a status, in particular, find a job and form a family with children, the problem is not just them: it is the same country that structurally  undermines the foundations of their future.

it is true that in Italian public debate there are constant references to this generational issue, but it is equally true that, until now, very little has been done in practice to give real solutions to real answers. Missing, however, are the appropriate tools of knowledge and interpretation of reality, which risk of feeding clichés and providing partial readings that make up alibis for the shortcomings of public action.

The absence of adequate policies to support the autonomy of young people and of solid inclusion in the labor market has negatively spilled over in creation of their own life projects. It is important, however, to note that, despite the difficulties, the young people surveyed have not given up in thinking that they can build their own family, the average family being composed of more than two children. Only a marginal minority, 9% among men and 6% among women, think of not having one at all.

This means that if these young people were simply helped to carry out their projects of life, we would not only have a country that would regain economic growth, but the same decline in Italian birthrates would become a problem of the past.

Erika Sciarra.


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