In Denmark, a proven recipe for youth employment

“When my best friend from high school confessed to me that he didn’t have a little job after school, he shocked me: I didn’t know anyone in this case”, says Anna Toullec. At 19, she lives in Fredericia, a small port town in Jutland, the Danish peninsula connected to the European continent. And like all young Danes, she has been working after her school days or on weekends since she was 14: in a café, in a supermarket or in a bakery. All the young Danes? “Yes, all: here is the norm. Not at your place? “

Small jobs from the end of college, early autonomy: this is one of the ingredients explaining the good professional integration of under 25s in Denmark. As in all the Nordic countries, the proportion of 15-29 year olds neither in employment, education nor training (“NEET” in English) is lower than in the rest of Europe. In the first quarter of 2021, it was 7% in Sweden and 9.5% in Denmark, against 13.2% in France, 15% in Spain and 24.2% in Italy, according to Eurostat.

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“The results of the Nordic countries in terms of supporting young people into the labor market are impressive, as is the fluidity between employment and resuming studies., declared the Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, on August 24, visiting the Pôle Emploi in Fredericia. We want to draw inspiration from their good practices ”. To fight the NEET phenomenon, further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the French government plans to introduce a “commitment income”, the terms of which will be announced in September. Targeted at precarious young people, it should extend the current youth guarantee (497 euros per month) paid to 16-25 year olds in difficulty, with support towards employment led by local missions.

Very different philosophy from the French approach

Denmark, like Sweden, is deploying similar measures, focused on young people in difficulty. But for the rest, their whole system, like the place of young people in Nordic societies, is based on a very different philosophy from the French approach. Indeed, the tricolor helpers were shaped by the familyist tradition, where the family takes care of the 18-25 year olds, considered to be grown-up children.

This is why the amount of student grants in France is defined according to the income of the parents, who also benefit from a half tax share or personalized housing assistance when their child under 25 is still attached. to their home. This is also why the RSA is not open to those under 25 – for fear, in particular on the right, that a “young RSA” discourages work and studies.

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