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Employment

Spanish youths take longer than average to find first job — report

Spaniards take six years to find a post, while young Danes take just two, OECD study finds

Young Spaniards at a job fair in Galicia in 2014.
Young Spaniards at a job fair in Galicia in 2014. EFE

Young Spaniards spend a long time looking for their first job – and when they do, they often find themselves in an unsatisfying post that is paid by the hour.

In a country with one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Europe, and where one out of every five youths neither works nor studies, a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that Spain also has the highest proportion of 15-to-24-year-olds who are forced to accept part-time contracts.

A young Spaniard takes an average six years to find a permanent position, compared with two years in Denmark, the study shows. Nearly 71 percent of young workers in Spain are on temporary contracts, and that rate has grown during the economic crisis.

Students in Spain are less likely than their peers in other European countries to participate in vocational education and training”

OECD report

According to the OECD, 22 percent of all part-time workers in Spain are young people. This figure more than doubles the European Union average of 9.9 percent and far exceeds the OECD average of 5.8 percent.

“The share of youths neither in employment, education nor training (NEET) ranks near the top of the OECD, surpassed only in Mexico, Greece and Italy,” reads the OECD Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report for Spain 2015, which identifies 12 “skills challenges” for Spain as it strives to recover from the protracted economic crisis. “Youth NEET are at risk of becoming long-term unemployed and more difficult to integrate in the future.” 

The 278-page report insists on the importance of improving the performance of students in compulsory and tertiary education as one of the ways to close the gap between young people’s skills and the real needs of the labor market.

Spanish students’ performance continues to be below the OECD average in reading, mathematics and science.

“Early school leaving, grade repetition and late school completion continue to be a challenge, increasing the cost of the education system and delaying young people’s entry into the labor market,” notes the report.

“In addition, students in Spain are less likely than their peers in other European countries to participate in vocational education and training, and even when they do so they are less likely to participate in work-based learning, which has been found to support effective transitions from education to employment.”

English version by Susana Urra.