Youth Labour Market Conditions in Times of Crisis. a Gender Approach on South European Countries

Friday, July 10, 2015
S13 (13 rue de l'Université)
Paola Villa , Dipartimento di Economia e Management, Università degli Studi di Trento
Recent comparative research has identified common features in the labour markets and welfare institutions of southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal), which make it difficult for young women to combine choices about motherhood with the choice of economic independence through employment. In particular, young women suffer more than young men of inactivity and discouragement (characterized by abandonment of job search and the labor market). Despite their continuous increase in educational attainments, young women in the early stage of the career, still suffer of “occupational vulnerability”. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in Southern Europe, where the process of fiscal consolidation has been stronger.

At present, Southern countries are facing the biggest economic and financial crisis since post-war period, as youth unemployment rates have increased to very high levels, for both women and men. The paper will examine the impact of job destruction on the employment position of young women and men (including inactivity and discouragement). Second, it will consider the impact of austerity measures on the quantity and quality of employment for young women, and the implications for the family-employment model.

Occupational vulnerability is a major issue in terms of human capital loss and in terms of policy implications: on the one hand, it proofs the inconsistency of the breadwinner model, which is clearly not sustainable anymore, especially in times of crisis; on the other hand, it highlights (some of) the drawback effects of the austerity policies, which had been originally promoted as a mean to achieve intergenerational equality.