Tiago boasts an economic sciences degree, but you wouldn’t know it from the work he does. The 28-year-old hops from one temp job to another in construction and food services. His situation is typical of the problems experienced by many in his age group. Even when young people do manage to find a job, it is often temporary and below their education level. Meanwhile Tiago is considering retraining to improve his chances: “I hope it works out this time.”
Tiago had his first and only permanent contract after finishing his degree, but when the company closed in 2010 he struggled to find work. He and his wife left his native Portugal in 2010 to move to Belgium, but for Tiago it has remained difficult to find a good job. “I’d like to work in a company – that’s what I have a degree in after all – but it’s just easier for me to find a blue-collar job.”
Job insecurity, he points out, "creates stress and insecurity, which puts pressure on your relationship, your family and your self-esteem. It isn’t until you’re unemployed that you realise how important work is for happiness.”
To help people like Tiago, the European Parliament has been pushing for a European Youth Guarantee, entitling young people to a job, training or an apprenticeship if they have been unemployed for more than four months. MEPs also negotiated for more funding in the EU’s budget for 2014-2020 to help tackle youth unemployment.