The problem of youth unemployment in the European Union is not new. Youth unemployment has been double or even triple the rate of general unemployment in Europe for the last 20 years. The events of the past few years have dramatically exacerbated it, however: 5.6 million young people are unemployed across Europe, and a total of 7.5 million are neither being educated nor are they working. Moreover, while young people are eager to work, more than half of those without jobs say they simply can’t find one – all while businesses across Europe insist they struggle to find young people with the skills they need.
To understand this disconnect and what can be done about it, McKinsey built on the methodology used in our 2012 publication, Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works. We concentrated on four broad questions:
- Is the scale of the youth-unemployment problem in Europe a result of lack of jobs, lack of skills, or lack of coordination?