In 2010, youth monitoring focuses on youth employment. It tackles issues regarding the access to the labour market; ensuring their employability; working conditions and labour market support measures. Young people are among the most vulnerable social groups when accessing the labour market. In 2010 there were an average of 23 400 unemployed people aged 15-24. The unemployment rate among young people actively participating in the labour market reached 32,9% (Figure 1).

unemployment rates 2000-2010

Figure 1. Unemployment rates by age groups, 2000–2010, %

Source: Statistics Estonia

Employers value prior work experience, which young people often lack. Another problem is that young people do not have sufficient specialist education. Nevertheless, specialist education does not guarantee a job. The outlook of graduates of vocational establishments has deteriorated, with the employment rate among university graduates being remarkably higher. Yet the success in accessing the labour market greatly depends on the specialization field. People that study popular specialities (business, social studies, etc.), are more successful in entering the labour market. Employers also value graduates of applied specialities who have gained more practical experience during studies.

In order to improve the employability of young people it is neccessary to:

  • ensure appropriate specialist education for accessing the labour market;
  • facilitate combining studies with work, because working during studies is becoming increasingly popular;
  • integrate more practice into studies, which provides students with work experience and enables them to be more successful in the labour market.

Support measures and structures for the enhancement of youth employability have been sufficiently developed, in the form of Unemployment Insurance Fund and non-formal education (youth work). However, we do not unfortunately know how efficient and appropriate they are for young people.