BRUSSELS. In Italy there are 1.4 million young people who do nothing. A number of inactive people like no other in the European Union whose situation has been worsened by the Covid pandemic. These are young people aged between 15 and 29, who have stopped studying, do not work, do not train, and have no intention of doing so. It is the generation already lost, which is in danger of losing forever if we do not run for cover.
The report on employment that the European Commission publishes on the occasion of the approval of the opinions on the budget laws and recommendations for the euro zone, says that the situation in Italy “is critical” when it comes to those who are out of all education, training and the world of work (“Neet”, according to the English language acronym). The inactive rate is 15.7%, the highest in the EU.
A situation that has deteriorated with the health crisis. Almost everywhere, the European Commission notes, the Covid-19 shock has reversed the six-year trend of decline in the number of young people without work, education or training. This is due “in part to the precarious positions of young people in the labor market”, and turns the spotlight on atypical contracts. In Italy before the pandemic, temporary work was the rule for the under 25s, 63.3% of them had it. At the end of 2020, a year of pandemic and lockdown, the rate fell to 58.9% but because unemployment is growing. A serious labor reform will be needed, the situation “requires decisive political action to prevent the risks of long-term negative effects”.
But there is more to it than that. Because the Italian system seems to be leaking water from all sides. Italy is in the group of six Member States with the highest dropout rate after completing compulsory studies. It is 13% of Italians between 18 and 24 who leave books and desks, almost 400,000 young people (384,265), all of whom are low-skilled.
A change of course is necessary. We need a quality school and more to measure the new demand for work. Translated, “significant efforts are needed to enhance pupils’ digital skills across the EU”, including Italy
“Across the European Union, we have nine million young people who do not have an education, a job or training,” complains the European Commissioner for Labor and Social Affairs, Nicolas Schmit. A substantial portion of this data is Italian. “We must be very active in providing young people with the tools and experience they need to enter the job market and have access to stable jobs.” It is needed because “we need next generation innovation and productivity to keep our economy competitive.” A note especially for Mario Draghi.