Young people increasingly have no employment whatsoever, while there is a growing sense of pessimism among them about their career prospects, a situation exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, the House labour committee heard on Tuesday.
MPs were briefed about the findings of the latest Youth Barometre covering the third quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, recent data from the Statistical Service show that some 28,000 youths aged under 29 are in a state of complete inertia – accounting for 16.9 per cent of that age group, meaning they have no job or are not in education or training. This has gone up from 14.3 per cent from the previous quarter.
Senior officer with the Youth Board of Cyprus Maria Miltiadou said the barometre’s main result relates to young people’s concern with finding work. The sense of insecurity over professional rehabilitation is pervasive.
About half of these youths cited their job prospects as their single greatest concern.
The survey found that “societal stereotypes and prejudices” were the second most important matter on young people’s minds.
But the pandemic and the restrictions that came with it have taken their toll on youngsters’ psyche – six out of 10 said they feel worse, citing anxiety, monotony and uncertainty.
However, the head of the Labor Department Alexandros Alexandrou said that at the same time the ratio of young people fully employed has risen compared to prior Youth Barometres.
In addition, the ratio of those with part-time work has dropped from 14 per cent to 10 per cent in the latest survey.
Alexandrou noted that the national Recovery and Resilience plan includes training programmes for young people, as well as subsidy schemes for those aged 15-29 who are outside the labour force.
Professor Giorgos Ashikalis spoke of a brain drain, pointing out that some 20,000 youths have left the country over the past few years. Efforts should be made to incentivise them to come back.