Unemployment has risen dramatically across the EU
Over the last three years young people face even tougher conditions in entering the labour market. The youth unemployment rate in the EU-28 was more than double the overall unemployment rate in 2014. At 22.2 %, more than one out of every five young persons in the labor force was not employed, but looking and available for a job. In the euro area, the youth unemployment rate was even higher at 23.8 %. This decent work deficit does not only put young people at risk: entire societies are at risk of seeing increasingly social conflicts and political unrest due to the lack of job opportunities. Not only do underutilized young people incur significant losses by not fulfilling their potential, but this underutilization of young people in the labour market can trigger a vicious circle of intergenerational poverty and social exclusion. Today, too many young people are experiencing a dangerous mix of high unemployment, increased inactivity and precarious work, as well as persistently high working poverty. Young people represent the promise of changing societies for the better. The youth employment crisis, considerably aggravated by the global economic and financial crisis, now requires governments, employers and workers to work even harder to promote, create and maintain decent and productive jobs. Unless immediate and vigorous action is taken, the global community confronts the grim legacy of a lost generation. Investing in youth is investing in the present and future of our societies. One reason for this situation lays in the fact that inadequate quality and relevance of education and training can strongly affect the length and quality for school-to-work transition of young people. The lack of alignment between the education system and the needs of employers generate a mismatch between supply and demand of labour. Young people struggle to find a job that suits their qualifications, and employers fail to recruit the graduates with the right skills set. The Commission's objective is clear: to get the economy back on a path of growth and to create new and decent jobs. The crisis destroyed many jobs – especially those of low-skilled workers. Now most new job offers require a different and higher skill-set than in the past. The first pillar of the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan adopted by the Commission in 2013 focuses on entrepreneurial education and training where the Commission intends to give young people the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills that will create a future generation of entrepreneurs. The Commission estimates that youth entrepreneurship can be a pathway to decent work and sustainable enterprise for some young people and should be a component of national efforts to address the youth employment crisis. Embedding entrepreneurship education and curricula at an early age, in secondary and universities can be an effective way of improving attitudes towards entrepreneurship.