Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities

A special issue of Merits (ISSN 2673-8104).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2024 | Viewed by 11284

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Management, University of Brescia, 25122 Brescia, Italy
Interests: economic policies; labor policies; unemployment; youth unemployment; human capital; comparative economics; regional economics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Economics, University of Perugia, 06123 Perugia, Italy
Interests: economic policies; comparative economics; labor policies; regional economic and policies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit an article on the topic of “Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities”. This topic has become more relevant with regard to the COVID-19 crisis, both during the crisis itself and in view of the new features of the post-crisis economy (as we describe below). However, even before this crisis, the topic was crucial.

As a matter of fact, the position of young people in the labor market in unsatisfactory in most countries worldwide, as shown by the generally worse labor market indices (high unemployment and NEET rates, low activity and employment rates), as well as by the often-precarious job positions, frequently in low-paid and poorly qualified occupations. In some countries, this disappointing performance even concerns skilled and highly educated young people.

A key reason for this bad situation is the “experience gap” that habitually harms young workers. In many countries, there is also a lack of efficient public institutions supporting the “school-to-work” transition. For these reasons, in most countries, unemployment rates are two to three times higher in young people than in the total population; the unacceptable high NEET rates led some scholars to conjecture the risk of a “lost generation”. Moreover, young workers are more sensible to the business cycle and to macroeconomic shocks: for example, after a recession, the increase in the youth unemployment rates is particularly large and persistent.

The COVID-19 crisis affected young people in at least three ways: (i) the halt of new hires (that normally regard young people) in most economic sectors, especially in 2020; (ii) institutional reasons (young workers hold temporary contracts and thus are more easily fired); and (iii) sectoral specialization (young people are particularly present in sectors such as hotels and restaurants, services, tourism, retail trade, etc., which were indistries particularly affected by the crisis).

Nevertheless, the post-COVID world economy has some features that could help the inclusion of young people in the labor market, with the most important feature being the durable digitalization of many activities. In any case, the pandemic is likely to bear permanent effects on the modes of productions, work methods, consumer habits, and lifestyles. These developments can represent an opportunity for young people if public policies will help in favoring a smooth transition from schools and universities to the labor market.

This Special Issue aims to identify and systematize four broad issues: (i) an updated comparison of the current situation of young people in the labor market, collecting evidence from many countries; (ii) the general and persistent reasons for the greater difficulties of young people in the labor market; (iii) the characteristics of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on youth unemployment and on young workers; (iv) the opportunities possibly accruing for young people in the new economy characterizing the post-COVID world.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following: (i) investigations regarding the situation of young people (unemployment, type of jobs, characteristics of the transition from school to work, etc.) in the labor market, either in individual countries or in an international comparative analysis; (ii) study of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis; (iii) analysis of the evolving situation—after the pandemic shock—in industries and occupations and their impact on the employment of young workers.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Enrico Marelli
Prof. Dr. Marcello Signorelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Merits is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • young people
  • youth unemployment
  • precarious jobs
  • school-to-work transition
  • NEET
  • COVID-19 impact
  • new jobs
  • digital economy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 186 KiB  
Editorial
Young People and the Labor Market—Challenges and Opportunities: An Introduction
by Enrico Marelli and Marcello Signorelli
Merits 2022, 2(1), 59-61; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits2010006 - 14 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3553
Abstract
The position of young people in the labor market is disappointing in most countries worldwide, as shown by the generally scanty labor market indices: high rates of unemployment and NEET (not in education, employment or training), and low activity and employment rates [...] [...] Read more.
The position of young people in the labor market is disappointing in most countries worldwide, as shown by the generally scanty labor market indices: high rates of unemployment and NEET (not in education, employment or training), and low activity and employment rates [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)

Research

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14 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Influence of Crime on NEET Rates: A Regional Analysis of Italy
by Iacopo Odoardi, Dario D’Ingiullo, Ada Di Nucci and Davide Quaglione
Merits 2024, 4(2), 132-145; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020010 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 228
Abstract
The occurrence of criminal activities has the potential to hinder socioeconomic advancement, preventing individuals from investing in human capital and pursuing employment opportunities. Our investigation focuses on the hypothesis that the NEET (not in education, employment, or training) rate is related to crime [...] Read more.
The occurrence of criminal activities has the potential to hinder socioeconomic advancement, preventing individuals from investing in human capital and pursuing employment opportunities. Our investigation focuses on the hypothesis that the NEET (not in education, employment, or training) rate is related to crime levels. Through an econometric analysis based on regional data, we examine the impact of crimes against property and against persons on NEET rates within central-northern and southern Italy, while controlling for prevalent determinants of the NEET phenomenon. Our findings reveal that, compared with prevailing discouragement factors such as youth unemployment and lack of interest in tertiary education, crime exerts a more pronounced influence on elevating NEET rates. This effect is particularly evident in the relatively less developed southern regions, where violent crimes, although relatively uncommon, may disproportionately contribute to feelings of apprehension and uncertainty regarding future prospects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
18 pages, 768 KiB  
Article
Intersection of Gender and Disability on Returns to Education: A Case from Metro Manila, Philippines
by Kamal Lamichhane and Takayuki Watanabe
Merits 2023, 3(4), 682-699; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3040041 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1551
Abstract
Utilizing a dataset from Metro Manila in the Philippines, we estimate the impact of gender on the return of education for individuals with disabilities, specifically focusing on visual, hearing, and walking difficulties. Controlling sample selection to address endogenous labor participation and accounting for [...] Read more.
Utilizing a dataset from Metro Manila in the Philippines, we estimate the impact of gender on the return of education for individuals with disabilities, specifically focusing on visual, hearing, and walking difficulties. Controlling sample selection to address endogenous labor participation and accounting for the endogeneity of schooling decisions, our estimations reveal a significant rate of return to education, ranging from 25.7% to 38.1%. Importantly, examining the potential for nonlinear-schooling return, we observe a more pronounced effect of disability for females compared to their male counterparts, suggesting the presence of dual discrimination and signaling effects for females. Our research emphasizes the urgency for the Philippine government to not only improve educational opportunities but also to enhance employment prospects, particularly for females with disabilities. Some of the policy recommendations would include the implementation of equal-opportunity measures, including antidiscrimination policies; an expanded quota system to boost employment opportunities; efforts to address accessibility issues; and subsidies for private-sector employment are also necessary for the economic empowerment of females with disabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
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17 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
Teaching and Playing? A Survey on Young Musicians’ Well-Being and Motivations
by Silvia Sacchetti and Andrea Salustri
Merits 2023, 3(3), 521-537; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3030031 - 08 Aug 2023
Viewed by 881
Abstract
The aim of this study is to analyze the well-being of young music teachers working in Trentino Music Schools (TMS). Specifically, we assess (i) the extent to which the interaction between teaching and playing affects the well-being of young musicians using a satisfaction [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to analyze the well-being of young music teachers working in Trentino Music Schools (TMS). Specifically, we assess (i) the extent to which the interaction between teaching and playing affects the well-being of young musicians using a satisfaction measure for their overall professional path as teachers and musicians, and (ii) what extrinsic and intrinsic drivers may guide their involvement in teaching activities in the early stages of their careers. To this end, we analyze original survey data on young musicians teaching in TMS to estimate their relative satisfaction and identify their motivational drivers. Specifically, we estimate from elementary items six constructs concerning material work conditions, immaterial welfare (i.e., the capabilities activated by the schools), and initial monetary and non-monetary motivations to become a music teacher, then we run two ordered logit regressions to test whether a set of variables of interest and the estimated constructs contribute to explaining junior teachers’ satisfaction. Our findings highlight that junior teachers are satisfied if they can preserve the desired proportion of artistic activity and can teach a consistent number of hours so as to leave the desired space and time for making music independently of school activities. They consider teaching to be one of the components of their professional activities and can be expected to try to maintain sufficient space to be able to also develop the independent artistic sphere of their career as musicians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
15 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
Education, Off-the-Job Vocational Training, and Early Employment Outcomes: Evidence from Italy
by Giorgia Casalone and Eliana Baici
Merits 2023, 3(2), 390-404; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020022 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Education and training are primary sources of individual human capital. We explored the relationship between education and off-the-job vocational training and the impact of training programmes on youth employment in Italy. We focused on three outcomes: employment probability, use of formal/informal job search [...] Read more.
Education and training are primary sources of individual human capital. We explored the relationship between education and off-the-job vocational training and the impact of training programmes on youth employment in Italy. We focused on three outcomes: employment probability, use of formal/informal job search channels, and skill matching. We identified programme effects by comparing the outcomes of treatment and control groups using propensity score matching with a robustness check to assess the potential bias due to unobservable characteristics. Individuals with vocational high school degrees are more likely to participate in vocational training programmes, but in southern regions, individuals with technical or generalist high school degrees also attend vocational training programmes. Vocational training programmes have positive effects on youth employment outcomes, reduce the use of informal job search channels, and improve skill matching, especially in the centre-northern regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
15 pages, 841 KiB  
Article
Millennials and Early Retirement: An Exploratory Study
by Igor Tkalec
Merits 2023, 3(2), 248-262; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020015 - 30 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2224
Abstract
The article explores the extent to which working conditions and health factors shape Millennials’ preferences to retire early in the European context. On the one hand, Millennials’ approach to life and work potentially implies a preference to retire early. Yet, on the other [...] Read more.
The article explores the extent to which working conditions and health factors shape Millennials’ preferences to retire early in the European context. On the one hand, Millennials’ approach to life and work potentially implies a preference to retire early. Yet, on the other hand, the ongoing trend of tightening conditions and penalizing early retirement, as well as the expected decrease in living standards in old age for Millennial cohorts, restricts options and discourages early retirement. The results indicate that Millennials across Europe do not explicitly express a wish to retire early. This holds true most prominently for Millennials who are healthy and satisfied with their job. The analysis employs a classification decision tree model as the main method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
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Other

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14 pages, 657 KiB  
Project Report
Training to Achieve Sustainable Employment for Youth and Young Adults
by Cristina de Sousa and Fernando Acabado Romana
Merits 2024, 4(2), 118-131; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4020009 - 08 Apr 2024
Viewed by 185
Abstract
This paper presents the outcomes of the “Training for Sustainable Employment of Youth and Young Adults” project, originally developed with the assistance of a consortium of institutions in six countries. These countries comprised five EU member states, Portugal, Italy, Romania, the Czech Republic, [...] Read more.
This paper presents the outcomes of the “Training for Sustainable Employment of Youth and Young Adults” project, originally developed with the assistance of a consortium of institutions in six countries. These countries comprised five EU member states, Portugal, Italy, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Spain, and an EU candidate, Turkey. The main objective of the project was to analyse the gap between the needs of employers and the skill sets of youth and young adults, in order to assess the training needs of young people to equip them to be sustainably employed. In addition, the project set out to create a course programme that contained targeted training to meet the identified training needs of both employers and young people. The data collection was performed using a focus group (n = 144) and an online survey aimed at a convenience sample of the target groups (n = 244) in the six participating countries. The data were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings indicated six main competencies to develop in training: flexibility, inclusivity, diversity, and wellbeing; innovation and knowledge management; mobilisation of human resources; international orientation; entrepreneurship; and presentation. In conclusion, this study illustrated the need for a course programme to be established, structured around the six categories that correspond to the main topics obtained through the consortium’s research. Therefore, the main gain of the project study was the creation of a course programme, focused on improving young people’s inclusion in the job market and meeting companies’ needs for skilled employees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People and the Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities)
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