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Start of training much later: more and more young people are living at the expense of their parents

Start of training much later
More and more young people live at the expense of their parents

The labor market could use new skilled workers. But instead of being able to stand on their own feet as quickly as possible, many young people take a sabbatical after school and live at the expense of their parents. Not only the fear of making the wrong decision is great.

School, training or studies: Young people are often not yet able to finance their lives themselves. The majority (51 percent) of 15 to 24-year-olds in Germany live at the expense of their parents or other relatives. Only 38 percent earned most of their living themselves last year and lived from their own gainful employment, as the Federal Statistical Office reported on today’s Youth Day. 30 years ago, the ratio was exactly the opposite: more than half (52 percent) of the young age group lives on their earned income and 40 percent were still financially dependent on their relatives.

According to Bernd Fitzenberger, director of the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, this is also due to the changed situation of many families compared to before. “People were more limited to the local job market, and the parents’ income situation wasn’t as good as it is today,” he said. “Many middle-class parents can also afford their children to look longer for the right match. This combines with the challenge that there are so many options that one is afraid of making the wrong decision.”

After graduating from high school there is a gap year, after graduating from secondary school it is better to continue going to school – time that young people use for orientation, but which postpones the start of their career. “We’re now at an older age at which young people start training, more than 20 years old,” said Fitzenberger. “I’m afraid that the Corona crisis will increase it again.”

“Working conditions must become more attractive”

At least since the pandemic, company training has been in a serious crisis. The insecurity of young people also plays a major role. “Someone first has to become an applicant, someone who has an idea of ​​how he or she would like to orientate themselves professionally,” said Fitzenberger. “A lot of people don’t know that when they graduate.” Young, qualified people are urgently needed. The companies are complaining about an acute shortage of skilled workers, which is increasingly burdening the economy.

Almost half (49.7 percent) of all companies surveyed by the Munich IFO Institute in July stated that they are restricted by a shortage of qualified specialists. This is the highest value since the quarterly survey began in 2009. And the chances on the labor market in Germany are above average: According to the Federal Statistical Office, only 6.9 percent of the labor force between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed in 2021, while in the EU the rate was 16.6 percent.

However, almost a third of young employees (29.2 percent) in Germany are in so-called atypical contractual relationships. These include part-time, fixed-term positions, temporary work or marginal employment. “The working conditions must be more attractive,” said Fitzenberger. In addition, schoolchildren must be addressed earlier, for example through greater professional orientation in schools or through compulsory internships. Every tenth young person (10.4 percent) received their main income from public services last year. This group also includes many who were neither in training nor in work. Their share rose again to 7.5 percent during the Corona crisis after a ten-year low of 5.7 percent had been reached in 2019.

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