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Labour market Switzerland loses youth employment crown

An apprentice in a Zurich bicycle shop


The financial crisis has left strong traces on the European youth labour market, with Switzerland losing its top spot to Denmark, according to the Economic Institute (KOF) at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ).

Although the Alpine country scored slightly lower on the KOF Youth Labour Market Index 2014 than the previous year, its score of 5.70 (on a scale of 1 to 7) was comfortably above the EU average of 4.78. Denmark pipped Switzerland with 5.74.

“Switzerland still maintains very positive general conditions with the second-highest score among the countries with a sufficiently high data coverage (i.e. with values for at least nine indicators),” KOF said in a statementexternal link on Tuesday.

The index describes the youth situation on the labour market using 12 indicators, subdivided into four categories: activity state, working conditions, education and transition smoothness.

“The indicators referring to activity state for Switzerland ['unemployed rate', 'relaxed unemployment rate' and 'not in education, employment or training rate'] achieved particularly high scores,” the authors noted.

Inside the labour market

Switzerland is a pretty stable country as far as employment is concerned. Even crises on the world economic stage tend not to cause catastrophic ...

“In contrast, negative trends for Switzerland can be observed in the category transition smoothness, in particular in the long-term unemployment rate and in the temporary worker rate. This last aspect could be related to an increase in the number of internships that young people have to accomplish before signing a permanent contract.”

Multidimensional approach

The 2014 index shows that in almost all European countries the working conditions for youth deteriorated during the period 2008-2014. Countries such as Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain exhibit marked decreases.

KOF said the index’s multidimensional approach allowed it to detect all country-specific trends.

For instance, the indicator involuntary part-time worker rate in Italy deteriorated the most, while the temporary worker rate in Spain reached an alarming level, it said.

In addition, Ireland exhibited a negative trend regarding atypical working hours, while major concerns in Greece existed for vulnerable employment.

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