Promoting youth employment during COVID-19: A review of policy responses

This report gives an overview on actual policy responses in the area of youth employment during the COVID-19 crisis in 20 selected countries.

Economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by measures to contain the spread of the virus, may have lasting effects on employment, earnings and working conditions. This is likely to be especially the case for younger workers who are at the beginning of their career or have not even entered the labour market yet.

Similar to what has been the case in previous recessions, it appears very likely that the COVID-19 crisis will result in long-term disadvantages for current graduates and, more broadly speaking, for the current generation of younger workers. Lasting scars for these workers could even be more severe than in previous recessions given the magnitude, breadth and duration of the COVID-19 crisis, and could thus lead to worse employment prospects and lower earnings for many years.

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis differs across countries, depending on factors such as the severity of the pandemic, containment measures adopted, and associated economic shocks. But even countries with a relatively small public health impact (e.g., New Zealand) experienced substantial economic shocks and have not yet returned to their pre-crisis economic state. Moreover, the pre-crisis situation with respect to youth employment and school-to-work transitions had differed across countries, as well as the related institutional background. In this complex situation, countries furthermore implemented different policy responses specifically targeted at the youth population to reduce negative impacts on younger workers and to avoid long-term scarring effects.