Introduction of EXCEPT WP1 results at a stakeholder event and in Estonian media
The publication of first EXCEPT working paper gave EXCEPT Tallinn University team the opportunity to introduce the project and its preliminary results to stakeholders and via national media in Estonia. The EXCEPT project received attention not only in Tallinn Universities newsletter and web-page, but the results of WP1 reached also one of the biggest daily newspapers in Estonia and a weekly newspaper with target audience of educators.
Project coordinator Marge Unt introduced the findings at a conference to more than 50 stakeholders, including different ministries, government institutions, and municipalities, wide range of employers and representatives of youth organizations.
In the dissemination activities the team focused the attention on the most interesting findings on the situation of Estonian youth compared to other European countries. Research indicates that in Estonia, after reaching one of the highest levels of youth unemployment rate in Europe during the financial crisis, the situation stabilized fast and share of youth in search for job is among the lowest in comparison to other European countries. Despite the fast recovery, youth unemployment level in Estonia remains higher than before the crisis and is more widespread compared to the prime-age population, indicating the presence of barriers for youth in entry to labour market. The success story of Estonia is also clouded by the worrisome fact of the above-EU-average level of long-term unemployment among youth – in 2013, for two out of five unemployed young persons in Estonia, the situation had lasted longer than a year, whereas this share remained almost unchanged throughout the crisis. Also, every fourth of recent school leavers can be characterized as NEET (not in employment, education or training), being approximately on the level of EU average.
Similar to many other European countries, unemployment and NEET risk among school leavers in Estonia remains strongly related to attained level of education – more than half of the graduates from lower secondary education are NEET during the early career stage, whereas among highly educated the figure is about three times less. Different from the general European trends, in Estonia the educational gap has not much widened over recent years.
Whereas the youth labour market entry in Europe can be often characterized by high levels of insecurity – temporary or part-time employment, so-called ‘yo-yo’ between employment and unemployment – this is not the case in Estonia where temporary employment contracts are little spread in general and mostly related to probation period or voluntary choice. The case of Estonian youth can be more characterized as insider-outsider labour market – those inside are likely to remain there, while those having difficult to enter or dropping out face a high risk of staying out for long period. The latter relates also the finding that only a minor share of employed youth in Estonia feels threatened by job loss in the near future.
When characterizing early career (first three years) after graduation, among Estonian youth only slightly more than half of the time is spent in full employment, which is among the lowest indicators in European comparison (being ‘worse’ only in Spain, Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria). Next to full-time employment, the second most common career trajectory is (long-term) unemployment. About one third of the first three-year period can be characterized by inactivity (does not include education or training), the share being remarkably higher among young women.