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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

Last update: 28 November 2023


Young people have been the most affected by the crisis and the austerity policies resulting from the bailout that Portugal received between 2011 and 2015.

There is a joint effort and a set of programmes and policy measures to promote employment and entrepreneurship among young people, with particular attention to policies fight against youth unemployment, to deal with the issue of young people not in employment, nor in education and training (NEET) and also to promote the quality of employment amongst youth, whom are particularly subject to precarious employment, with 64.5% of youngsters hired under temporary contracts in 2018 (Eurostat), less than in 2017 (65,9%).

Under the scope of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, there is a public services network that implements policies in this field. Interministerial collaboration is crucial in fighting against youth unemployment and in promoting decent work conditions for youth. For example, within the action scope of the Youth Guarantee programme (Garantia Jovem), and according to the type of measures, there must be coordination between the sectors of employment, education, economy, youth, foreign affairs (for international mobility) and the Presidency of the Council of Ministries, which integrates the Directorate-General for Local Authorities.  It must also be highlighted the participation of the social partners in the creation of policies and search for solutions through a social dialogue. This involvement takes place through the Standing Committee for Social Dialogue and other tripartite bodies. Non-governmental organisations are also active participants, contributing in various areas. For example, the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs and the Foundation of Youth are particularly active in the field of entrepreneurship. The Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment (CITE) acts as a national mechanism for non-discrimination in the labour market (see section 3.2).

The political commitment and the national efforts count on the support of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Under the scope of the Portugal 2020 partnership agreement, the Social Inclusion and Employment Operational Programme (PO ISE) aims to improve qualifications and increase the employment rate by promoting paid traineeships, education and training measures, and entrepreneurship programmes, most of them integrated in the Youth Guarantee programme, which target young NEET, and are part of the national active labour market policies. In addition, the State provides different incentives for hiring young people on open-ended contracts, namely through direct hiring subsidies and through a decrease of the contributory rate for a period of five years. Since 2017, the public employment service (PES) also provides a financial incentive to convert traineeship contracts into open-ended employment contracts.

The existing initiatives and programmes focused on entrepreneurship education are developed at a national, regional and local scale. Entrepreneurship is promoted by the State and, in addition, at a local scale. The current national strategy of the Government of the Portuguese Republic for Entrepreneurship – StartUp Portugal – aims to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit, by highlighting the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the city of Lisbon, which has been considered the European Entrepreneurial City, and the entrepreneurial culture that the country is currently living in. This entrepreneurial culture is the result of several events, such as the Web Summit Lisbon, with influences in the entrepreneurship policies targeted at young people, encouraging technological entrepreneurship in creative industries and in the fields of green and blue economy (see section 3.10)