Spain´s Abandoned Youth – Low Salaries & Poor Prospects

Spain´s youth umemployment remains critically high,  with no solution in sight,according to the latest data released by Encuesta de Población Activa (EPA) and the Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales (MVCL)

In fact the under-35s have never had it so bad with the current generation of young people barely managing to get out of the early 2010´s recession before being hit by the economic fallout of the present Covid-19 pandemic.

Two overwhelming  challenges that the Spanish political class seem either unwilling or unable to tackle.

Spain’s structural labour market problems are particularly detrimental to young people, and the survey shows that the situation has been steadily worsening over the last three decades which the two last recessions have only exasperated  further.

According to the figures released this week, the job situation for the under- 35s at the beginning of the current pandemic was already delicate. Unemployment rates were double that at the beginning of the Great Recession of 2008-2013.

Added to this is the collapse in income for this group of the population.

In 2019, the median real monthly salary for 18-35 year olds was lower than in 1980;  down 26% for those aged 30-34 and a massive 50% lower for 18-20 year olds. The falls are mainly due to the  additional effect of a sharp reduction in the duration of contracts and an increase in the amount of  part-time employment.

The combined impact is a drop in the average number of full-time equivalent working days from 73% to 22%, respectively, due to the fall in the duration of contracts and working hours.

On the other hand, and taking university-educated young people as the object of study, the results of the report confirm that during recessions there is a sharp fall in the average work income of young people during their first year in the labour market. There is also a similar, although less pronounced, pattern up to 15 years of work experience.

This suggests that the deterioration of entry conditions has persistent effects during a good part of their working life.


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