Young people find jobs faster, particularly female and master graduates

Those who leave school are finding their way onto the labour market the fastest in a decade, according to a report by Flemish employment service VDAB.

Out of 64,000 young people who left their secondary school, college, or university, only 6.6% or 4,213 graduates were still looking for a job one year later. Those numbers date from 2020, amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

That figure is the lowest in the past ten years, while in 2021 the jobseeker percentage was still relatively low at 10%, indicating that graduates been able to easily find employment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Education matters

For those who enter the labour market from secondary education, 8% of graduates were still seeking a job after one year, while that figure drops to 2% with a higher education diploma.

Of those studying healthcare, barely 1% of high-skilled care diplomas did not manage to find a job within a year.

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Leaving school without a diploma evidently decreases a school leaver’s chances in the labour market, as almost a quarter (23%) is still without a job after one year. “A diploma is an entry ticket to the labour market. School leavers without a diploma have the fewest opportunities,” says Lindsey Marin of the VDAB study service.

Girl power

Girls have scored better than boys, as barely 5% of girls who left school were still looking for a job after a year, compared to 8% of the boys.

This can be partially explained by the fact that there are more girls in healthcare and education, where the labour market is very tight. In addition, two in three school leavers without a diploma are boys, which reduces their chances.

Sustainable work

According to the Flemish Minister of Work, Jo Brouns, the figures illustrate that a diploma is the most important thing and offers the greatest chance of obtaining a sustainable job.

She warns young people not to be tempted too quickly by the labour market: “The war on talent can also be a pitfall, by choosing to make money quickly. Finish school first.” She also suggested young people to opt for training in care.

The data matches other trends on the labour market, as unemployment rates continue to drop. Meanwhile,

More than 80,000 Brussels residents are looking for work, while some 20,000 vacancies remain currently unfilled in the Brussels region. The gap between vacancies and jobseekers in Europe’s capital has various causes, most of which relate to the high demand for educated employees.


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