Portugal is one of the worst countries in the EU for a young person to find a job – and those who find it earn poorly (but abroad they reach €3000)

Increase in youth unemployment was transversal to most European countries but Portugal is already in the top 10 where this indicator is most expressive

Youth unemployment in the European Union (EU) rose from 14.8% in November 2021 to 15.1% a year later. This means that there is an increase of 180,000 young people without work in the EU, with Portugal already having 65,000 young people in this situation.

According to Eurostat data, the rise in youth unemployment did not happen exclusively in Portugal, having affected a number of EU countries. But, in the case of Portugal, this rise is more worrying as it places the country in the top 10 of Member States with the highest youth unemployment rate.

With regard to the salary reality of young people, the study “Exodus of skills and academic mobility from Portugal to Europe” concludes that young people with higher education who go abroad earn three times more than in Portugal.

The document highlights that 70% of the young people surveyed reported receiving an income of less than 1,000 euros in Portugal, while 26.5% even started to receive more than 3,000 euros after emigrating. The conclusions of the White Paper “More and better jobs for young people”, by the José Neves Foundation, also follow in the same direction. According to the document, the proportion of young people earning the minimum wage is 33.9% in the age group up to 25 years old, a figure that rises to 25.8% in the case of young people between 25 and 29 years old. In comparison, workers over 30 years old earning the minimum wage represent 23.7% of the workforce.

On the other hand, if they are not limited by the minimum wage, young Portuguese people are limited by precarious contracts, since more than half of young people between 15 and 24 years old (58.2%) are in temporary employment. On the European side, the average is 48.5%, but this gap deepens even more in the 25 to 29 age group. In this age group, 40.3% of workers are in temporary employment (2021 data), while the EU average is 24.3%.

Back to Eurostat data

The percentage of unemployed Portuguese under 25 years of age stood at 18.2% in November 2022. Although this figure is lower than the 22.5% recorded a year earlier, the downward trend is already reversing. Since November 2021, Portuguese youth unemployment had been falling, but this fall stagnated between August and September 2022 (at 18.7%). After a further drop in October (to 17.9%), youth unemployment is now beginning to reverse the trend, rising again in November.

Compared to European peers, Portugal ranks 9th in the “ranking” of the countries with the highest youth unemployment. In first place is Spain, followed by Greece (the country that occupied the first place in the “ranking” in 2021) and Italy.

If we analyze the average of the EU countries first, youth unemployment increased from 14.8% to the current 15.1% in the space of one year, and in Portugal it is now at 18.2%.

Although the increase in youth unemployment is in line with the European trend, the same cannot be said for general unemployment.

In the EU, total unemployment fell from 6.5% (in November 2021) to 6% in the space of one year. Portugal, on the other hand, enters a countercycle in this regard. The European statistics office points out that the country’s total unemployment rose from 6.2% (November 2021) to 6.4% (November 2022) in one year.

The rise may not seem expressive, but from August to October 2022 this indicator almost stagnated, oscillating between 6% and 6.1%, revealing that Portugal is struggling to keep up with Europe in job creation.

Eurostat data appear in a period of anticipation of a possible global economic recession, in relation to the current context of high inflation and rising interest rates, as well as after the release of a set of data referring to the labor reality of the Portuguese market.

According to data from the Portuguese National Institute of Statistics (INE), in half of the municipalities workers earn an average of less than a thousand euros per month. “In 50% of the 308 municipalities [154] In Portugal, the average monthly earnings of full-time employees with full pay were less than 1000 euros in 2020”, highlight the INE Regional Statistical Yearbooks.

Although half of the municipalities receive an average of less than a thousand euros a month, the average monthly earnings in the whole country is 1,247 euros, underlines the Portuguese statistical office. In Lisbon and Porto, the salary is already above this average, standing at 1,516 and 1,257 euros, respectively, but it is in Alcochete where the gain is higher, in the order of 2,020 euros.