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by Bruna Marques

Challenges & Degrees: The Professional Reality of Portuguese Youth

Portuguese youth has increasingly higher academic qualifications when in comparison with previous generations. If previous generations with degrees were a minority, as higher education has become more widespread, this situation has been reversing, confronting these generations with new challenges.

Nowadays, contrary to what is expected and still defended by popular knowledge, having a degree no longer guarantees a decent and quality job in Portugal, a result of the job insecurity felt by younger people.

Although the precariat is made up of many other conditions and social groups, the increasingly common image is that young people, aged between 18 and 25, who complete their training, whether at secondary level or higher, begin a struggle when looking for a first job.

Combined with the difficulties inherent to this process, frustration also sometimes arises, as a result of the previous generation apparently having access to more stable and protected jobs.

The natural insertion of these youth into social and economic life, in general, has always been a precarious condition, due to their professional inexperience.

However, the beginning of their professional career starts with temporary jobs that tend to extend much further beyond the period considered experimental, this is a form of hiring regularly used by companies, generating contractual and financial insecurities, a direct result of unstable contractual ties.

Also, hiring using the title of internship, a period during which they can legally pay lower wages and offer fewer social benefits, are indicators of lack of recognition and appreciation of academic qualifications caused by the low quality of jobs and, proportionally, salaries lows acquired.

However, not only these reasons lead the youth to look for jobs outside Portugal. Currently, more and more young people, due to the lack of strong ties tying them to their country of birth, are looking for a job abroad as an opportunity to have access to new cultures and integrate into more developed societies.

Nowadays, it is increasingly important for a young person looking for a job outside Portugal, other conditions such as being covered by labor policies of countries that provide greater protection to workers, but also due to equality issues of gender and social minorities that give rise to feelings of security and stability that are difficult to achieve in the short or medium term in Portugal.

In the coming years, and with a tendency towards an increase in the number of young people emigrating, it will be necessary to show greater concern in their retention so that we do not suffer the late consequences of this action.

Bruna Marques

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