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Improving Employment Prospects for Young Workers in Spain


  • Anita Wölfl



The unemployment rate among young people has reached painfully high levels, in particular among those young people with low levels of education. There are two crucial policy priorities to improve employment prospects for youth in Spain. First, in the very short term, there is need for quick action to target welldesigned active labour market programmes to the most disadvantaged youth and provide more job-search assistance and guidance for all youth experiencing difficulties in finding a job in the current labour market. Second, the current crisis is an opportunity to tackle some of the structural weaknesses in the Spanish youth labour market. This implies in particular reforms to prevent youth from dropping out of education at a very early stage and to improve the school to work transition of young people. Key issues are to better match skills acquired in education to those asked for by businesses, as well as to establish an effective system of vocational education, and to reduce remaining demand side barriers, notably labour market duality and a rigid collective bargaining system, which both have prevented an efficient allocation of labour resources in the past and a flexible adjustment during the crisis. This Working Paper relates to the 2012 OECD Economic Survey of Spain ( Améliorer les perspectives d'emploi des jeunes actifs en Espagne Le taux de chômage des jeunes atteint des niveaux douloureusement élevés, notamment chez les jeunes peu qualifiés. Deux actions prioritaires sont essentielles pour améliorer les perspectives d’emploi des jeunes en Espagne. En premier lieu, et à très court terme, il faut prendre des mesures actives du marché du travail spécialement conçues pour les jeunes qui ont le plus de difficultés et offrir à tous les jeunes qui ont du mal à trouver un travail une aide plus efficace à la recherche d’emploi. Deuxièmement, la crise actuelle peut être l’occasion de corriger certaines des faiblesses structurelles du marché du travail des jeunes en Espagne. En particulier, il est essentiel d’engager des réformes visant à empêcher les jeunes de quitter l’école trop tôt et facilitant le passage à la vie active. Plusieurs difficultés doivent être surmontées : faire mieux correspondre les compétences acquises à l’école et celles demandées par les entreprises, établir un système d’enseignement professionnel efficace et réduire les obstacles qui subsistent du côté de la demande, notamment le dualisme du marché du travail et la rigidité du système de négociation collective, qui ont empêché une répartition efficace des ressources de main-d’oeuvre par le passé et un ajustement souple face à la crise. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE de l’Espagne, 2012 (

Suggested Citation

  • Anita Wölfl, 2013. "Improving Employment Prospects for Young Workers in Spain," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1040, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1040-en

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    compétences; dual labour market; dualisme; education systems; employment protection legislation; Espagne; formation professionnelle; labour market; législation pour la protection de l’emploi; marché du travail; négociation salariale; skills; Spain; système scolaire; taux de chômage des jeunes; vocational education; wage bargaining; youth unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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