Youth on the move

Youth on the move

Flash Eurobarometer No 319b, Analytical report, May 2011

1) Method of Investigation

  • The survey obtained phone interviews with nationally representative samples of young people (aged between 15 and 35) living in the 27 EU Member States, as well as in Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey.

  • The target sample size in most countries was 1,000 interviews.

  • In Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Iceland the sample size was 800 respondents.

  • In total, 30,312 interviews were conducted by Gallup’s network of fieldwork organizations between 26 and 30 January 2011.

  • Statistical results were weighted to correct for known demographic discrepancies.

2) Objectives

The primary objective of the Flash Eurobarometer survey “Youth on the Move” (No 319b) was to looks at how mobile young people (aged 15 to 35) in Europe are for the purpose of education and work and how they view the attractiveness of different education settings. It also looked at their main concerns when seeking employment and their willingness to set up a business, or move to another country for employment.

3) Findings


Attractiveness of vocational education and training and higher education

  • Almost 8 in 10 (78%) of the young adults surveyed thought that vocational education and training was an attractive option for young people in their country; a figure similar to the one observed for the attractiveness of higher education (76%).

  • The highest proportions of young people who thought that vocational education and training was an attractive option for young people in their country were seen in Finland, Austria and Germany (93%-95%), while the lowest proportion was observed in Italy (50%).Roughly 9 in 10 respondents in Turkey, Slovakia, Norway, Iceland and Denmark said that higher education was an attractive option for young people in their country (88%-91%). In Greece, France, Lithuania and Italy, on the other hand, roughly one in three – or more – said that higher education was not an attractive option (between 32% and 38%).

  • In almost all countries, “improving one’s job opportunities” was the most frequently mentioned reason for choosing vocational education and training; on average, 59% of young people considered this to be the most important or second most important reason for pursuing vocational education or training. Roughly equal proportions said that young people wanted to obtain a higher wage level or acquire practical skills (38%-39%).

Youth mobility

  • One in seven (14%) young adults participating in this study said they had stayed abroad – or were staying abroad at the time of the survey – for education purposes. At the individual country level, this proportion ranged from 3% in Turkey and roughly 10% in Bulgaria, the UK and Romania to about 40% in Cyprus and Luxembourg. Of the respondents who had stayed abroad, 43% said they had studied abroad as part of their higher education studies and the same proportion answered that they had done so as part of their lower or upper secondary school education; one-third of respondents had studied abroad as part of their vocational education and training.

  • About two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they had used private funds or savings to finance their longest stay abroad. All other financial resources listed in the survey were mentioned by less than a fifth of respondents: for example, 18% had received a national or regional study loan or grant and 15% mentioned a scholarship of an EU mobility programme.

  • Respondents in Lithuania (35%) and Finland (34%) were the most likely to have studied abroad in the framework of an EU funded mobility programme.  Less than 5% of interviewees in Turkey, Norway and Croatia gave a similar response.

Young people’s reasons for not spending any time abroad

  • Of these respondents who had not stayed abroad, almost 4 in 10 (37%) said they were not interested in going abroad. A third answered that they had no access to funding or that it would have been too expensive to stay abroad, while a quarter had family commitments that kept them from going abroad.

  • The proportion of respondents who said they had not spent any time abroad mainly because they were not interested in going abroad ranged from 25% in Turkey to 56% in Cyprus. In a further three countries, a slim majority of interviewees said they were not interested in going abroad: Greece (52%), Poland and Luxembourg (both 51%).

  • A slim majority of respondents in Romania (51%), Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria (all 55%) said that a lack of funding was the most or second most important reason for not having spent time abroad.

Young people’s difficulties in finding a job

  • The fact that no jobs were available in young people’s city or region was cited as one of the main challenges for finding a job by more than 6 in 10 respondents in Hungary (63%), Finland (65%), Croatia and Ireland (both 67%).

  • Roughly two-thirds of respondents in Romania (65%) and Bulgaria (66%) said that one of the main concerns of young job seekers in their country was that the available jobs were poorly paid. Respondents in Denmark and Sweden were the least likely to express this view (both 14%).

Young people’s desire to work in another European country

  • A slim majority of young adults said they were willing – or would like – to work in another European country. Roughly equal shares would like to work abroad for a limited amount of time (28%) and for a longer period (25%). Conversely, more than 4 in 10 (44%) young people were not willing or would not like to work in another European country.

  • Respondents in Iceland (84%), followed by those in Sweden (76%), Bulgaria (74%), Romania (73%) and Finland (71%), were the most likely to want to work abroad. This proportion decreased to 28% in Turkey.

  • A slim majority (56%) of young men said they were willing – or would like – to work in another European country, compared to 49% of young women. Looking only at respondents who had completed their education, the higher the level of education they reached, the more likely they were to be willing to work abroad (55% of respondents with a higher education qualification, compared to 33% of those with a lower secondary level qualification).

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