Career: Six myths on youth unemployment

*video is in Dutch

As I wrote last wednesday I would post something about the subject-matter of the lecture on the ‘eternal intern’ issue.
Should you or should you not do an internship after you’ve graduated?
Yes, most of us students or graduates say. We feel like we have no choice. Employers ask for more experience, experience we need to gain in order to work. Employers often choose the experienced over the unexperienced. And when have we reached that point?
No, we answer on the other hand. In most cases we don’t get paid, or poorly, but we’re qualified and work just as hard if not harder and struggle to maintain financially stable in the meantime. Aren’t we important enough to be paid for?
Yes, we answer! If they have no room for employees, but only for interns, what else should we do, sit still? If I won’t take this spot, someone else will.
No, we answer, if we keep on taking internships, students who have to do internships cannot take these places, and there will be no places left for real employees, for they will be all interns.
Many many thoughts linger in our heads. What should we do, what should we do? Do the employers create a problem for us, or are we the problem, more than we realise? Do we hold on to much to: ‘you should do whatever you love and like to do’?
For the Dutchies, the lecture has been recorded and I would recommend watching it! There are no definite answers, but it is absolutely interesting.
For those who don’t understand a word of Dutch, here are some highlights that I remember from Fabian Dekker’s (labor (?) sociologist) part and other tips and perspectives:

Six myths on youth unemployment (Fabian Dekker):

Youngsters are spoiled
They do not want to work as hard anymore for a job as people used to do ‘back in the days’. According to Fabian Dekker numbers tell us the work ethic of young people are just as high as the older people.

It is good to work below your level (including internships)
Lot’s of students think it is necessary to stay active and grab any chance that presents itself to them, including me. I tend to say yes to lot’s of projects, thinking that will add to my experience, even if it is a bit below my education level. There is always this thing called network, right?
Research shows that those who do this often reach the bottom named: depression. Hmm, been there, could this have been one of those causes?
Besides that with these internships you won’t build on specific professional skills on the level you’re aiming at.

It’ll be fiinnnee!
‘It used to be worse (in former times, say 80’s), and we turned out fine, didn’t we?’ Apparently unemployed people will get jobs in the end, but tend to be unemployed again more easily than those who will start without any struggle. As Mr. Dekker calls it: scars on your resumé!

Nothing has changed (in comparison with 1984)
It did. The government acts less as a social safety net and technology changed productions and therewith jobs in some industries.
In my own opinion: there are also loads of new occupations and opportunities, but ofcourse also for these new functions it can be hard to be noticed and there’s still the question: is that what you want in the end, just for a job?

Blame the babyboomers!
With this he means: the younger generation will replace the older generation naturally. Babyboomer refers to the high number of young people who cannot all replace the older generation. Unfortunately the market is not a factory and workplaces can be created and just as much disappear.

More money is the solution
Up until now most set up projects the government invested in have proven to not be succesful.

Then what? It seems there’s less demand after the financial crisis. There are more flex jobs than ever and according to Mr. Dekkers this means employers now look in a different way at work. Employers are not the bad guys, but have anticipated on the changes of the economy. There a more risks and costs for them to take in account.
One of the problems he sees here is that employers no longer invest in young workers, which makes it hard to build up knowledge and skills. Students tend to stack small jobs and internships for this experience and stay financially stable, because graduates have to wait longer for a paid job and a lot of employers no longer want to invest and rather create intern spots, but also demand experience. Combining jobs and what not? In my case: guilty. I need experience and I try to gain it at different places, but also have to work different jobs not related to my education to earn some money.
He agrees he hears more and more that interns are used for regular jobs, without being paid for their labor. He encourages to report this.
The reason he thinks we still grab these opportunies is because the pressure of society is heavy, we feel society expects us to go at everything that crosses our paths. Unenployment is seen here as personally affectable, you should not be waiting for the right opportunity, you should be working on your ’employibility’. Unemployed people in general are pushed by the government to stay active and keep on applying, whatever the job is.

Since the crisis is one of the causes Mr. Dekker thinks there should be invested in innovation to help the economy grow.
Next is better advice in finding suitable studies and jobs. In some fields there is oversupply. There are more graduates than needed in the particular field, while some industries or sectors need certain kind of expertise, but there are too little people who did this study.
Despite the talk on staying active he does recommend to do some voluntary work.
For the employers: invest in your flex workers, you’ll get your return on investment. Both sides will be more satisfied, because future perspectives and productivity rise.
Last but not least he mentions entrepreneurship, you can start up your own business.

Overall from the lecture, including the talks with the other guests:

  • Employers invest in your flex workers!
  • Do not work below your skill level, rather volunteer or do an internship that suits you.
  • Seek opportunities where you least expect them, look further than your usual options! You can create your own business or make yourself essential in another industry.
  • There are two sides with different perspectives, think with eachother.
  • Let the world know there is a serious problem, be heard! Go on the streets to let the world know the problem is real. The extent of the problem apparently is still unknown.

Please, let me know what your thoughts are on this subject regarding youth unemployment.




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