Article

The evolution of employment precarity among young people in Spain, 2008-2018

M. Àngels Cabasés, Miquel Úbeda and M. Jesús Gómez, Universitat de Lleida; Carles Feixa and José Sánchez, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Carme Riera, Universitat de Barcelona;
Project selected in the Call to support social research projects: vocational training, early school leaving and job insecurity

In Spain, from the 1980s onwards, progressive flexibilization of the labour market gradually took place. With the labour reform that commenced in 2012, a model of precarious youth employment became consolidated that today has left young people facing worse conditions than those experienced by previous generations. Nowadays, in general, young people earn lower wages than their predecessors did while the duration of their employment contracts is also usually shorter. Overall, the study on which this article is based shows the deterioration of employment conditions for young people in Spain over the last decade and highlights the heterogeneity of young people as a group in which different realities coexist. This situation means that young people set out from a starting point of greater vulnerability in the face of the context of crisis derived from covid-19.
Key points
  • 1
       Over the last decade, youth employment has experienced increases in rates of temporary work, part-time work, and low wages. For 50% of young people aged under 30, their wages, calculated on an annual basis, do not reach the minimum inter-professional wage.
  • 2
       Higher-level education is one of the key elements for enabling young people to improve their professional prospects and increase their earnings. However, in 2018, up to 50% of university graduates in employment did not even reach monthly wages of 1,000 euros.
  • 3
       Women aged under 30, despite their greater participation in higher education, continue occupying worse-paid positions with a higher rate of temporary work than men, and this perpetuates gender inequalities. In 2018, the gender pay gap stood at 17%.
  • 4
       The situation is even worse for workers of immigrant origin, who face a more precarious situation than Spanish nationals. In 2018, some 50% of women of non-European nationalities contributed to Social Security for less than six months.
Wages of young people aged under 30 still not rising
Wages of young people aged under 30 still not rising

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