Book cover

In libreria

Youth Labor in Transition. Inequalities, Mobility, and Policies in Europe

Edited by Jacqueline O'Reilly, Janine Leschke, Renate Ortlieb, Martin Seeleib-Kaiser, and Paola Villa

21 marzo 2019
Versione stampabile

Exacerbated by the Great Recession, youth transitions to employment and adulthood have become increasingly protracted, precarious, and differentiated by gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Youth Labor in Transition examines young people's integration into employment, alongside the decisions and consequences of migrating to find work and later returning home. The authors identify key policy challenges for the future related to NEETS, overeducation, self-employment, and ethnic differences in outcomes. This illustrates the need to encompass a wider understanding of youth employment and job insecurity by including an analysis of economic production and how it relates to social reproduction of labor if policy intervention is to be effective.

Jacqueline O'Reilly is  Full Professor, University of Sussex Business School, UK

Janine Leschke is  Associate Professor, Copenhagen Business School

Renate Ortlieb is Professor of Human Resource Management, University of Graz, Austria

Martin Seeleib-Kaiser is Professor of Comparative Social Policy and Politics, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany

Paola Villa is Full Professor of Applied Economics, University of Trento, Italy


Chapter 13 (pp. 694-695; 698-699; 701)

In the years preceding the Great Recession of 2008– 2009, there was evidence that the labor market for young people in Europe had been improving (Grotti, Russell, and O’Reilly, this volume). The Great Recession and the austerity years that followed knocked this trend off course: Where things were already difficult for young people, it made them even worse. Along with the worsening of labor market conditions, we can identify a structural shift in job opportunities for young people between various economic sectors (Grotti, Russell, and O’Reilly, this volume). The economic crisis, in most countries, resulted in the nonrenewal of temporary contracts, followed by the destruction of full- time and permanent jobs; in the recovery, job creation for youth has shifted toward temporary and part- time work in many countries. Moreover, the economic crisis amplified the differences in labor market outcomes between young adults and prime- age workers (Flek, Hála, and Mysíková, this volume), and thereby increased the pressure on policymakers to act.
[…] The sphere of “economic production” (i.e., the locus of where labor is employed) in our approach is shaped, among other things, by labor market institutions as well as the quantity and quality of the new generations entering the labor market. More precisely, we define the sphere of economic production as including the impact of labor market flexibility, new labor resources made available through mobility and migration, as well as reforms of education and training.
[…] Emerging patterns of segmentation in youth labor markets along the lines of education, gender, and ethnicity require a holistic analytical approach, including an analysis of the legacy of family differences from the sphere of “social reproduction” (i.e. the locus where the labor force is produced) to understand how these interact with the sphere of “economic production” (O’Reilly, Smith, and Villa 2017). The family provides an interface for youth transitions into the public realm: It acts as both a source of stratification and potentially as a source of protection.
[…] The third key component required to understand the form of youth transitions is related to the role of policymakers and to the possibilities for policy transfer and learning between countries. Across Europe, the policy architectures for addressing youth problems are very different: These range from countries with specific ministries, or transversal organizations, to those with no dedicated institutions (Wallace and Bendit 2009). Similarly, the design and capacity of public employment services vary significantly across Europe. It is frequently the case that policies affecting young people are spread across a range of very different institutions; but these often do not have consistent strategies, and they are frequently decentralized to local and regional levels (Petmesidou and González Menéndez, this volume).


The book is open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.