A student slowly shuts the door as he exits the exam room, with examination still going on inside. He thinks to himself: “I did it, I just earned my diploma, I’m a university graduate!” At that point, however, he does not fully realise, that every end has a new beginning. Let’s pose a question. How many students in Europe are active enough to plan their career path already during their studies? Frankly, just a few. Human personality naturally prioritises short-term goals – pass an exam, state exam, get a summer job and so on. Most of time, we get no answer.
A lot of graduates encounter trouble after leaving school. That is a fact we can see all around us. Slovakia is a country which ranks among the worst in the European Union what regards the numbers of unemployed graduates.
The state uses an ineffective funding scheme for higher education institutions, which “manufacture” unemployable graduates not matching the demand on the market. There are numerous speculations about selective financial support of certain study fields requested by the employers. Yes, I agree. However, we tend to forget something. Since Slovakia is an EU member, university graduates have a 27 times more options to get employed. Why? Because the EU disassembled border barriers for persons, services and goods. Every citizen can seek job opportunities in all the European countries.
I can not agree with the allegation, that the count of unemployed graduates is directly linked to the regional aspect of the university premises. Rather I suggest looking at the issue of unemployment from the European point of view. The website of European Commission says that 5.5 million young people are jobless. That means every 5th person under 25 can not get a job against their will.
The European Commission apparently does realise this and therefore had launched the European Employment Service. EURES started already in 1993 as an IT service connecting organisations which support European employers’ mobility among the Union. EURES has its representation in every larger European city, where the employees happily greet you and help you find your job anywhere in the EU. Sadly enough, a lot of graduates don’t even know about this opportunity. That’s why I took the liberty to ask. I surveyed graduates, and to-be graduates from different countries, such as Slovakia, Great Britain, Spain, Lithuania and others, asking a simple question. Have you ever heard about EURES? Two thirds had no clue. One of them even wrote: “I heard something about it, it offers EURES internships or something like that.”
At this point, I’d very much like to point out that this is by no means fault of the EU or EURES. They really strive to be visible and to help cutting the unemployment rate. The catch was already mentioned above. It’s the short-term goal orientation of the youth in this case. Students have no time to plan their careers and as fresh graduates they take the first opportunity no matter if they are qualified or not.
The second issue of the mainstream graduates is foreign language. You could anticipate, that in 21st century everyone speaks a foreign language. In current reality, this is a wrong conclusion. Many students and graduates do not speak any foreign language and therefore their employment interface gets much narrower for them.
What do you think are your opportunities on the job market in Europe as a fresh University gratudate?
As a fresh law graduate without foreign language skills at a higher level combined with lack of an extensive legal practice i really don’t think I stand a chance of getting employed as a lawyer abroad.
If we’re out for lowering the unemployment rate and increasing the job opportunities numbers, we are bound to support professional and geographic mobility in accordance with the european employment strategy. That’s precisely why foreign language skills and long-term visions of an individual are the core of that particular individual and European society as a whole.This way, I’d like to recommend to all the fresh graduates not to lose time and let this great opportunity slip through their fingers. Go check out the European Job days taking place on the 6th October 2012 in Brussels. What? Out of cash for the flight? Nevermind … they will be online too this year. You can take part regardless of where in the world you currently are.
There are interviews being set up for you, but consultants and advisors too. If it doesn’t work this time, you can still learn a lot from the process and apply your newly achieved experience in the future.
We have asked EURES advisor Alžbeta Spišiaková from Banská Bystrica.
What are the possibilities of university graduates on the European labour market? Which are the most important aspects of looking for a job procedure?
Development of unemployment of the youth differs in individual EU countries. However, generally speaking, the previous year has showed the rise in the youth unemployment in all EU countries and it identifies such an unemployment as a serious problem. It has reached historical maximum in countries such as Cyprus, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain. It is higher than 15% in all the other countries with an exception of 4 countries – Austria, Germany, Malta and Netherlands. /source: EUROSTAT
It is very demanding to find an employment for young people in the period of economic crisis with rising unemployment and greater expectations of employers. After graduating university, young persons have usually no practical experiences, therefore, employing them becomes a matter of short-term employment, part time jobs or agreements of work agencies for limited period.
To 10.9.2012, on the European Job Mobility Portal EURES www.eures.europa.eu. are registered 1 262 882 vacancies, 934308 CVs and 28 519 employers.
This database of vacancies is available for all who seek work opportunities, also for young people, of course. The success depends on the education and profession they want to perform. In order to use these opportunities of working abroad in EU/EEU countries and Switzerland they have to be fluent in a foreign language.
For the purpose of better employment of the youth and for the purpose of occupying vacancies for which it is difficult to find an employee in the EU, the EC has prepared a pilot project “Your first EURES job”, that should financially support young persons seeking for a job in other member state, and employers which hirethem at least for six months. Currently, this project is implemented in four countries, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Do not let the chance to get a dream job in France or Sweden fade away. You opportunities are right in front of you, it’s just about standing up and grabbing them in your hands. A student who shuts the door on his way out of the exam room where the rest of exam takes place thinks to himself: “I know that I can put my best efforts into the job hunt now. And EURES will help me, because it has just launched the program called Your first EURES job position” aimed at employment mobility support. An instrument for supporting fresh entrepreneurs through a new European microfunding tool called the Progress.