3.1 General context
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‘Based on the latest Youth Barometer (telephone interview data gathered in 2019), very few young people think that 'any work is good enough as long as it pays well enough'. Work is not just a source of income for young people, although a clear majority disagrees with the claim that work is not essential in order to be happy. With three out of four claiming that they would prefer to take a job rather than live on subsidies, even if accepting work does not raise their level of earnings, young people are clearly committed to finding work and being employed. On average, young people are satisfied with their current job. The school grade (from 4 to 10) given to job satisfaction in the 2019 barometer is 8.2, which is higher than it has been earlier. On the other hand, over one third of the respondents are concerned about their ability to cope at work. (Press release on 20th of April 2020 by Finnish Youth Research Network and the State Youth Council.)
According to the Labour Force Survey of the Statistics Finland’s the unemployment rate of young people (15 to 24-year-olds), was 17.2 per cent in 2019, which was a little bit higher than in the previous year. As known, youth employment has been decreasing because of the covid-19 epidemic.
Traditionally, the tripartite system in the labour market is strong in Finland. Labour legislation is drafted in collaboration with organisations that represent the interests of employers and employees. For example, the working conditions of employees are determined on the basis of legislation and collective agreements that exist for various sectors.
Explaining the situation regarding youth employment and entrepreneurship in the Finnish context is impossible without first giving a short overview about the Finnish Youth Guarantee concept (see: the Glossary). In 2013, the government promised an allocation of 60 million euros per year for the establishment of the Youth Guarantee. The core element of the Guarantee was a reduction in waiting time of young people face when becoming a client of the Labour Services, so that 'young people under the age of 25, and recent graduates under the age of 30 are offered a place for work, a work placement, a study place, a place at a workshop, or rehabilitation placement no later than three months after registering as unemployed'. The Finnish model was used as one example in the EU Council's recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee in all member states (European Union 2012, 2013).
The methods for implementing the Guarantee include measures related to the educational guarantee, the skills programme for young adults, public employment and economic development services for the youth, as well as rehabilitation services, including the municipal social and health care services and other specific services for young people, such as outreach youth work and workshop activities.
Among other measures, the youth employment rate was planned to be used as an indicator to measure the success of the programme, but as it was explained in the 2015 report by the Ministry of Employment and Economy 'implementing the Youth Guarantee out was interrupted by the poor economic situation so much so that all objectives connected to youth employment were not reached.' (Nuorisotakuu-työryhmän loppuraportti ja suositukset jatkotoimiksi).
After the 2015 parliamentary elections, the new government announced the idea of 'turning the Youth Guarantee into a community guarantee', as described in the national report to the European Commission in 2016 on the implementation of Youth Guarantee at the national level. The services for young people in need of support were assembled to a single place, namely to One-Stop Guidance Centres. This service centre gathered all the relevant employment and social services for young people under one roof. In 2018, over 60 centres nationwide have been established. There are also other measures taken to support the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, however in 2016, government funding was cut by ten million euros, over a three year period.
The Government programme — published after the parliament elections in Spring 2019 — continues to uphold its commitment to the Youth Guarantee. In Spring 2020, an expert working group has started its work to further the effectiveness of the Youth Guarantee way of action (see also Youth Wiki/Finland 3.11 Current Debates and Reforms). The Government Programme has also mentioned that the one stop-guidance centres are going to be strengthened, as well as youth workshops.