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Where is the “Lost Generation” of Europe Headed?

Updated on July 2, 2013

Since 2008’s finances of the world went topsy-turvy things all over have been financially upside down for most countries. What has continued to plummet is the youth of Europe’s faith in having ample employment opportunities. At current, Europe’s youth’s unemployment is at nearly 6 million between the ages of 16-25 without jobs. It is the highest unemployment rate among such a young generation that Europe has ever witnessed. As time rolls on, these young adults vision of hope is lessoning. So the question is out there, “what will this generation do?”

What is so ironic about all this is that the education levels amongst Europe’s graduating scholars are through the roof. 30% or more of the youth in Europe are some of the top-educated out of the generation. With PhD’s and Master’s in hand even they are feeling the sting of hopelessness. With the high level of difficulty in finding a job as it is, competition is at an unbelievable high for any type of position at all. Job searches can range anywhere between 4 months up to a year or more. Those that were always told there is success in education can no longer see what their parents were talking about. The time where jobs ran in abundance and lasted for years on end, seem now to be no more. Who would expect to go through a 4 plus year education and come out with no jobs opportunities? Certainly not someone so young and full of promise.

Plenty of these job go-getters have truly been humbled by the experience of less than promising job searches. Oddly enough, lots are optimistic. Some sending out resume after resume hoping to get a catch on a job opportunity. Unfortunately the highly-educated of Europe are resorting to putting themselves out there for jobs that are hiring for positions unrelated to their studies. Aspiring doctors, lawyers and scientists are now looking to find employment as teachers, receptionists or McDonald’s employees. Anything to help them sustain a life on their own. Most finding it even still hard to find a job for being over-qualified. Having said that, those that have a lesser education may find it just as tough to find a job as well, as most businesses are looking for employees with experience not just a warm body; a vicious catch 22 to try and overcome no matter the education background. Which in turn, resulting in lots of these job-seekers looking to search in other countries for a paycheck.

With the feeling in the air that Europe’s education is basically preparing and training its students for other countries, “sink or swim” is now the attitude that most are beginning to have. You don’t work, you don’t eat. Many are finding it necessary to move on. Even parents are giving advice to their babies to seek out other countries to find a job. Since 2010, more than 120,000 have traveled elsewhere in a determinant search. When faced with this type of situation what else do you do? Sitting around waiting for a job for most, has just become too much to deal with and really less and less of an option. They’d rather be out working and forging a new “adult” life instead of waiting for something to fall into their lap. It’s also becoming difficult for some to continue living with their parents for the mere fact that most feel they are a burden. Many have decided to head to Germany, which seems to have a youth unemployment rate of 7.9%. A definite large difference compared to say, Greece (62.5%) or Spain (56.4%). Other countries that offer a chance of hope are Latin America, the Netherlands, the U.K. or the U.S. Those that have decided to toughen it out are deciding to either, stay and continue looking for work or pursue continuing their education. To deter from being discouraged, they are finding themselves trying to get into routines that keep their minds busy, hanging out with others in similar situations in order to feel that they are not in it alone or finding volunteer work. Some may find employment but nothing lasting. And nothing worked long enough to gain unemployment from. A few are even setting out to become entrepreneurs. Trying to start businesses of their own, in the hopes that they can make a way for themselves.

Not only has blame been placed on the 2008 financial crash but also on the continued austerity (reduction of spending) measures that were taken in order to save the country money. Europe has begun to try and revamp the situation. Leaders came together and are taking preemptive steps by making plans for initiatives that will open up the market for more jobs, spanning over the next 2 years, using a budget close to 85 billion dollars. More focus of the initiative will be placed on Greece, Spain and Italy; the front runners of this unemployment crisis. Banks are beginning to provide small business loans in order to jumpstart hiring once again. Lessons are also being taken from Germany, by putting into place on-the-job training and academic training in apprenticeships. Even with those upcoming strides, it has still been negatively assumed that the percentage of unemployment among this younger generation will continue to rise.

The youth unemployment rate of today is happening all over and not just in Europe. However, Europe is heavily affected by it. This devastating throw has young adults all over Europe wondering, “why me?”, “what did I do wrong?” or “what have I done to deserve this?”. It has made the most decorated of scholars take on jobs nowhere near the realm of their education. Putting some in the position of working more than one job to make ends meet. Or being left with no other choice but to move on to other unfamiliar destinations; tearing them from their loved ones and the only place they’ve called home.

Negative Effects of Prolonged Unemployment

  • Unpaid Student Loans
  • Delayed Retirement Savings
  • Moving Back Home
  • Possible Depression
  • No Healthcare
  • Taxpayers Trying to Keep Balance
  • Resentment from Parents
  • Fear of Leaving Home; Feelings of Not Being Able to Survive
  • Dashed Hopes and Dreams
  • Protests/Rioting

*Figures may be slightly skewed depending on articles data is received from.

How Will Europe Be Affected Most If Youth Leaves To Other Countries?

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    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Josak, I agree, it won't last. Life is filled with time and change. In due time it will surpass. I found it to be a sad story. There are plenty of other places in Europe not feeling this same bite. Greece and others like it are just not the place to be right now for job searches. Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comment.

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Thanks my girl sara! I've noticed there has been a large amount of younger adults without jobs but never really paid attention to it. But this topic kinda grabbed me and I think it's really sad. Not only just for them but for everyone that may be going through a tough time finding a job. It not only effects their present but their future as well. Thanks for your comment. Have a good one!

    • Josak profile image

      Josak 4 years ago from variable

      It's an economic crisis, everyone suffers those but it won't last forever, plenty of European countries have very low unemployment (take Switzerland for example).

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 4 years ago from Georgia

      The US is sadly trying to follow in Europe's footsteps. Less employment also means that white Europeans will stop reproducing and will shrink in numbers. Plus, every time I watch House Hunters in Europe, I am shocked at how expensive it is to live there and how poor the conditions truly are. Nice topic!