Young people, in nearly every country, experience worse labor market outcomes than adults. However, there are striking differences across countries, with some performing much better than others.
In Germany, young people are no worse off than adults in the labor market.
In southern and eastern European countries, young people fare three to four times worse.
In Anglo-Saxon countries, both youth and adults fare better than elsewhere, but their unemployment rates fluctuate more over the business cycle.
The arrangements developed in each country to help young people gain work experience explain the striking differences in their outcomes.
The reason behind the worldwide youth disadvantage can be traced back to their lower than average human capital. This may be because some youth drop out of school before achieving at least compulsory education, or because when they do achieve a high secondary or tertiary education level, they miss other key components of human capital, namely general and job-specific work experience.
General competences can be acquired through any type of (even short) work experience. However, job-specific competences can be acquired and used only in specific jobs and require long periods of time to accumulate, say several years, depending on the actual professional content of the job. This low level of human capital among young people correlates with, among other things, jobs mismatch, which is the difference between the competences supplied by young people and those that firms require from them.