GENEVA (ILO News) – The use of temporary contracts for young workers has nearly doubled since the onset of the economic crisis, said the ILO in its Global Employment Trends for Youth 2012 report (www.ilo.org/getyouth).
According to the study, between 2008 and 2011, the share of temporary contracts among young employees – aged 15 to 24 – rose by 0.9 percentage points a year, after a 0.5 point annual increase in the 2000 to 2008 period. Meanwhile, the average share of temporary employment for adult workers remained unchanged.
Already in 2000, young people in the European Union were four times as likely as adults to be temporary employees, with 35.2 per cent of youth employees on temporary contracts, compared with 8.9 per cent for adults (over 25 years of age).
The report stresses that many young people have “good” reasons to work on temporary contracts, pointing out that 41.3 per cent of the youth working as temporary employees in 2010 were students.
“Nevertheless, the increasing importance of temporary work as an option of last resort (in advanced economies) is confirmed by the fact that more than one out of three youth state that they could not find a permanent job, and this proportion has been rising since the crisis started - from 36.3 in 2008 to 37.1 per cent in 2010,” the report said.
In developing economies, on the other hand, a relatively high number of young people are likely to engage in unpaid family work, starting their working life supporting informal family businesses or farms. The school-to-work transition may also include unemployment spells, or periods of temporary or casual employment.
Youth in developing countries also account for a high proportion of poor workers, comprising 23.5 per cent of the working poor in countries with available data, compared with 18.6 per cent of non-poor workers. Many poor workers are trapped in a vicious circle of low-levels of education and low-productivity employment, the ILO said.
The ILO report highlights a number of policies that countries could apply more intensely to promote decent jobs for youth, including active labour market measures such as the development of public employment services, wage and training subsidies or tax cuts to provide incentives to employers to hire young people, as well as entrepreneurship programmes that integrate skills training, mentoring and access to capital.