Let’s face the facts. Unemployment rates in European countries are way high at this time on average. Even though we have countries like Germany and Austria, with unemployment rates below 6%, the average in the UE is 10.7%, with emphasis on the top 5: Spain (26.2%), Greece (25.4%), Portugal (16.4%), Ireland (14.7%) and Latvia (14.2%). The UE summation gives us a total of around 25 913 000 people unemployed. It is indeed a lot of people that live such a drama of feeling useless to a society and also incapable of making a living as a result of their professional skills.

I think this is not only a problem of the present. It is a problem of the past and it will also be a problem of the future, the near and the far one. It is a long-term challenge with, I would say, a lot of reasons. But the crisis just made the challenge more striking.

First, there is a general problem worldwide that comes with lack of transparency – i.e. corrupt practices -, which is the political protection of several groups of interest with no market outside the State. The State invests in their services, they keep functioning while the State has a financial viability. Since the State is usually a secure guest, these companies can grow and get expand, having eventually more employees. With several financial crises affecting the Euro-zone in particular, the States, having lost their financial viability, lose the ability to protect these groups of interest. As a consequence, these groups go bankrupt, for they were always totally unprepared to face a real market. The end result, as you may imagine, is massive unemployment. The construction bubbles in Spain and Portugal are prime examples of these protective policies, which, on the long run, revealed a dramatically wrong strategic investments in these countries.

Second, the technological boom of the last… 20 years, let’s say, brought a lot of people to unemployment, because a lot of jobs done by humans are now done by machines. We can gather a lot of examples, especially in the domain of the agriculture, fishery and industry.

These years faced a tremendous change in demands for the market, which means change in job demands, and change of skill demands. Europe is not a continent of the low-specialized jobs, on the contrary. The jobs in technology and innovation, research and development and others have risen a lot in demand lately. However, this rise does not seem to be enough so far. Also, these jobs demand a lot of more qualifications and a much higher degree of scholarship than most of the jobs we had 30 years ago. And this job market shift was not followed by a cultural shift. The notion that you study a lot, you get a degree, then you get a secure job for life is out of date in a developed country. There is a lot of people like yourself, so you need way more than a degree. You need to work a lot and well, or someone else will replace you. You now face the same problem being a teacher, a researcher, a lawyer, a police officer, a call-center operator or a trash bin collector. Your job is not safe anymore, you have to fight for it every single day.

Finally, there is an additional point I would like to make, which is educational. Are we ready for this market coming? Because it seems that the only constant in job market is change. Yet, most of the educational systems, from high school to college, work on the idea that you attend them in order to acquire the necessary skills to perform a job on a given domain knowledge. You practice the skills repeatedly until you acquire them. You memorize the concepts until you remember them. Then, yes, you are ready for the job market. Probably, some of the students will be educated today for jobs that will vanish in the next 10 years. What will happen then? Will they get another degree?

Perhaps children should be educated in order to be more creative. They will really need creativity for the future job market. We need new companies, new jobs, new products, new solutions. They will face many jobs, in which they will need a lot of different skills throuhgout their whole careers. Otherwise, the humanist European model may disappear with such a lot of unemployment.

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