Youth unemployment in Sweden

CNC report from New York
Added On May 13, 2013

Relaxing over a drink with friends after work is a common sight in Sweden and throughout the world. 

But if you're young and looking for a job it may be a while before you can relax like this.
SOUNDBITE (English) LEANDRO FLORES, Successful Youth Guarantee Aspirant:
"The thing is that you don't know how the market works, you have high hopes for yourself. You think you're going to get your first job instantly but that's not how it works. You don't know how to apply for different jobs, you don't know what is expected of you once you finished school."

Last week, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said more than 73 million young people were unemployed around the world and the situation is expected to only get worse.

Those who are looking for a job are taking longer to find one – in advanced economies it can take up to 6 months or longer.

Building bridges to jobs for young people has long been a priority for Sweden and its Scandinavian neighbors.

There, youth guarantees provide qualified young people with access to training and job contacts.

SOUNDBITE (English) MARKUS BLOMBERG, Swedish Trade Union Confederation:
"You have the right to get training, coaching, how to write a CV, to see if you have the ability to start your own business, and also have perhaps training in how to meet an employer."

Crucial to the guarantee's success is close collaboration between the employers, unions and government.

SOUNDBITE (English) KRISTINA SANDBERG, Swedish Employment Service:
"They help us to get internships and work practices for the youth, so that they can go out and start to work and get their first contacts and try different kind of jobs."

SOUNDBITE (English) MARKUS BLOMBERG, Swedish Trade Union Confederation:
"But a focus of job-seeking activities alone is not enough when there isn't enough work. After all, if there aren't any jobs to apply for, it's kind of hard applying for them."

Leandro Flores actually ended up creating a new job for himself through the contacts he made with the employment office.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEANDRO FLORES, Successful Youth Guarantee Aspirant:
"I started a project and took in all the information  .... they said that they needed someone like me and someone like my friend who made the project with me and wanted us to tour around Sweden and reach out to the youth."

A study conducted in 2011 in Sweden showed that unemployed youth aged 24, who benefited from the guarantee, were able to find a job faster than others who did not participate in the programme.

SOUNDBITE (English) GIANNI ROSAS, Coordinator of Youth Employment Programme, ILO:
"Support for young people in finding jobs is always a need, but particularly important in times of crisis. Youth guarantees can prevent permanent disconnect from the labour market by improving skills and employment opportunities, especially when focused on young people who face labour market disadvantages."

Considering the economic and social consequences of high youth unemployment and discouragement, the benefits of youth guarantees far outweigh the costs.

"I believe that it is a help for the individual, and I feel that I am making a difference in people's lives. And it's a good feeling."