23/11/2009 - Young Poles have been hit hard by the jobs crisis. To help them, a new OECD report on Poland says that the government should invest more in vocational training schemes, and temporarily cut the cost of employing low-skilled school-leavers.
Jobs for Youth: Poland notes that the jobs crisis has hit young Poles at a time when their situation in the labour market was already difficult. The unemployment rate among young Poles aged 15 to 24 rose from 16.5% in mid-2008 to 19.5% in mid-2009, a level 1.7 percentage points above the corresponding OECD average.
The employment rate for young people in Poland, at 27% in 2008, is one of the lowest in the OECD area, the OECD average being 44%. Furthermore, two-thirds of the few youth employed are on temporary contracts, among the highest shares in the OECD (see table below).
In the short term, the government should focus its efforts on training young people, involving them more in active labour market programmes and making the transition from school to work quicker and more successful. The key priority is to avoid the build up of a large pool of youth who become long-term unemployed or drop out of the labour market, and are unable to find work easily when the recovery gathers pace.
“The economic and financial crisis has now turned into a job’s crisis, hitting the young hardest everywhere. We need to act now, to prevent a lost generation with its dramatic consequences for people, ” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Job-search assistance, training opportunities and targeted programmes are needed to help young workers.”
The OECD recommends that Poland swiftly introduces a raft of measures, including:
- Provide hiring subsidies to firms by temporarily reducing social security contributions for low wages in order to lower the relatively high labour costs of employing unskilled youth.
- Reduce the gap in effective employment protection between open-ended or fixed-term contracts and “commission contracts”. The government should rebalance the lack of employment protection granted to workers hired on commission/per-piece contracts with the high employment protection afforded to workers with permanent/fixed-term contracts. A move to protect better the former and to reduce labour-market duality should go hand in hand with the development of active labour market policies as a shift towards a new “flexicurity” balance.
- Focus re-employment services of the public employment service (PES) on youth actively seeking work. There are concerns that many young people register with the PES primarily to get health insurance Checking upfront people's willingness to work in order to assist them more effectively in their job search would help.
- Improve the quality of vocational education and training (VET) schemes so that VET students get certificates that are valued and recognized by potential employers. It would be important to align the training and certification standards used by the PES implementing active measures (e.g. apprenticeship) with those developed by the educational sector to create a single nationwide VET classification system, which has proved effective in other countries.
Jobs for Youth: Poland is the latest in a series of reports launched by the OECD, covering 16 countries. For more information, journalists are invited to contact Anne Sonnet, Division for Employment Analysis and Policy of the OECD (tel. + 33 1 45 24 91 69). To obtain a copy of the publication or for further information, journalists should contact the OECD Media Division (tel. 33 1 45 24 97 00).
Link here to download Excel table
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