More and more young Europeans are looking at moving abroad in the hope of a bright and better future
Youth mobility appears to be more and more apparent, one only needs to look at the wide variety of scholarships that allow young people to move abroad in order to see the scale of opportunities that allow youth mobility. However, it is true that some young people have little choice in the matter. Factors like youth unemployment, lack of prospects, the need to learn languages and the possibility of independence by leaving their home countries have made 68% of young Europeans want to go abroad in the search for wider opportunities.
The level of youth unemployment is alarming. Nearly 5.4 million people under 25 years old are unemployed in the EU. For this reason, every year the European Union supports more than 400,000 young professionals in finding jobs, training and studying abroad.
We live in a world where there are many geographical barriers to employment; however, these are being broken down by the most talented workers and highly educated people who have the desire to find better opportunities abroad. In Europe the preferred destinations for people who leave their country looking for better economic opportunities are the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland.
Young people are hungry for new experiences and going abroad can provide a lot of prospects. They want to visit new cities, meet different people and learn from other cultures. Alba Hernando, a 23-year-old Spanish graduate in journalism and audio-visual communication, experienced this; once she finished her studies, she did not see her work as being properly rewarded in Spain. Therefore, she decided to start the adventure of working abroad and six months later she is well located in a British company.
It is almost impossible to count every single young person, like Alba, that has taken the decision to migrate in recent years, but approximate figures convey that the youth unemployment rate in Europe is 22.8%, meaning that one out of five young people in Europe cannot find a job; in Greece and Spain youth unemployment is much higher, closer to 50%.
Working abroad is not only an attractive option in terms of life experience and discovering new cultures, but also a striking alternative for young people in terms of job opportunities and professional development. «What is important is learning and being attractive to the company which offers us a job», says Sue Edwards, who works at Lothian Studio, a company specialized in helping young people looking for jobs abroad.
Edwards highlights how young people are keen and willing to work abroad. This is good news for Europe; unfortunately they still face too many obstacles. We need to make it easier for young people to study, train and work abroad. An example is the Erasmus program, which can give them their first taste of living away from their home country.
With all the instruments at its disposal, the EU needs to make sure that young graduates that European universities prepare every year give back to society what they have learnt. Today’s generation is one of the most skilled and well-prepared generations of all time. We have the chance to have immediate access to any kind of information thanks to the latest technological boom. Despite this, a lot of students after completing their university education do not manage to find a job in their field of study.. They need fast and effective aid.
«I see a generation growing, which is sacrificed, lost as a consequence of mass unemployment that affects European young people. I believe that if we are able to start a good investment program that in the mid-term would strengthen growth, the driving forces of which will benefit European youth», said Jean-Claude Juncker, President elect of the European Commission.
We do not know for sure if this is the solution, nevertheless, it is clear that it is time to take action to achieve these goals and help young people find job opportunities and ensure a better future for them. Anything the EU can do to help national governments to do this will have significant positive impact.
By Criseida Martínez Marco (in the above picture), Media Communications Assistant at ThinkYoung, the first think tank concerned with young Europeans. ThinkYoung lobbies for the common interest of young people in Europe. Founded in 2007, it has expanded to have offices in Brussels, Geneva and Hong Kong. Criseida was born in Valencia, Spain, where she has studied Journalism and Audiovisual Communication at the University of Valencia. During her studies, she did an Erasmus year in Rome, Italy. She has also worked in different areas of journalism in radio and television.