More and more young people live at the expense of their parents

4 mins read

The labor market could do with new skilled workers. But instead of standing on their own two feet as quickly as possible, many young people first take a sabbatical year after school and live at their parents’ expense. The fear of making the wrong decision is not the only one.

School, training, or university: Young people frequently lack the financial means to support themselves. In Germany, the majority of people between the ages of 15 and 24 live at their parents’ or other relatives’ cost (51%). According to the Federal Statistical Office’s study for today’s Youth Day, just 38% of young people lived off of their own gainful job last year. Thirty years earlier, the ratio was the exact opposite: 40% of the young age group were still reliant on their family for financial support, while more than half (52%) relied on their own income.

According to Bernd Fitzenberger, director of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, this is also due to the changed situation of many families compared to the past. “People were more restricted to the local labor market, and the income situation of parents was also not as good as it is today,” he said. “Many middle-class parents can also afford to have their children look longer for the right fit. That adds up to the challenge that there are so many options, so there’s a fear of making the wrong choice.”

After graduating from high school, a gap year, after graduating from junior high school, it’s better to continue going to school – time that young people use for orientation, but that puts off starting a career. “We now also have a higher age at which young people start training, above 20,” Fitzenberger said. “I’m afraid that will go up again with the Corona crisis.”

“Working conditions must become more attractive”

Since the pandemic at the latest, he said, in-company training has been in a serious crisis. Young people’s insecurity also plays a major role in this, he said. “Someone first has to become an applicant, someone who has an idea of how he or she wants to orient themselves professionally,” Fitzenberger said. “A lot of people don’t know that by the time they graduate from high school.” Yet young, qualified people are desperately needed. Businesses complain about acute shortages of skilled workers, which are putting an increasing strain on the economy.

Almost half (49.7 percent) of all companies surveyed by the Munich-based IFO Institute in July said they were constrained by a shortage of qualified specialists. This is the highest figure since the quarterly survey began in 2009. And opportunities on the labor market are better than average in Germany: according to the Federal Statistical Office, only 6.9 percent of the labor force between the ages of 15 and 24 were without a job in this country in 2021, while the rate in the EU was 16.6 percent.

However, almost one-third of young employees (29.2 percent) in Germany are in so-called atypical contractual relationships. These include part-time, fixed-term jobs, temporary work or marginal employment. “Working conditions must become more attractive,” said Fitzenberger. In addition, he said, schoolchildren need to be approached earlier, for example through stronger career guidance in schools or mandatory internships. One in ten young people (10.4 percent) drew their main income from public benefits last year. This group also includes many who were neither in training nor in a job. Their share has risen again in the Corona crisis to 7.5 percent, after reaching a ten-year low of 5.7 percent in 2019.

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Salih Demir

Salih Demir lives in Germany. He is interested in politics and economy. Germany editor of -ancient idea-