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Memo/11/292 Brussels, 13 May 2011 Flash Eurobarometer on Youth on the Move

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Brussels, 13 May 2011

Brussels, 13 May 2011 - Flash Eurobarometer on Youth on the Move

53% of young Europeans are willing to move for work

More than half of young people in Europe (53%) said they were willing – or would like – to work in another European country. Slightly more expressed a preference for working abroad for a limited time (28%) than for the long term (25%). Young men (56%) were more willing to work abroad than young women (49%) and the 15-19 age group were more willing to work abroad than 30-35-year-olds (63% vs. 42%). Those with higher qualifications were also more likely to want to live abroad than those with lower secondary level qualifications (55% vs. 33%). The fact that more than half of young people are willing to move for work is positive news for the European labour market as labour mobility in the EU currently stands at only 3%.

14% of young Europeans have spent time abroad for studies or training

People who have spent time studying abroad are also more likely to work abroad after their studies. One in seven (14%) young Europeans said they had stayed abroad – or were staying abroad at the time of the survey – for education or training. The proportion ranged from 3% in Turkey to 39% in Cyprus and 41% in Luxembourg.

Of the 14% who had been abroad for education or training purposes, 43% went for higher education studies and 26% spent a traineeship in a company as part of their higher education. 43% said they had been abroad as part of their school education (lower and upper secondary school) and 33% as part of their vocational education and training (VET). 21% did a traineeship or apprenticeship as part of their VET programme.

Young adults with a higher education qualification and those currently in higher education were overall the most likely to say that they had stayed abroad and city dwellers were almost twice as likely as those living in towns and rural areas to have been abroad for educational purposes (21% vs. 12%).

65% used private funds to finance their learning mobility

When asked how they had financed their longest stay abroad, nearly two-thirds (65%) said they had used private funding or savings. EU programmes such as Erasmus funded 15% of studies and training abroad. 19% of those mentioning this type of financing were in higher education and 9% in upper secondary general education or in VET.

The proportion of young people who received national or regional study loans or grants to finance their stay abroad varied widely across the countries surveyed. While roughly half of respondents in Norway, Luxembourg and Iceland said they had used these means of financing, the proportion was less than 20% in 17 out of 31 countries surveyed.

Broad-based skills most important benefit of spending time abroad

Young people consider broad-based skills such as improving their ability to speak a foreign language, cultural awareness, adaptability and interpersonal competences – all of which are highly valued by employers – as the most important benefit of going abroad for education and training purposes. In 18 out of 31 countries surveyed, the largest proportions of respondents thought that having improved their foreign language skills was the most or second most important benefit of their stay abroad.

Finance the main barrier to going abroad

A large majority of young Europeans has not spent any time abroad for education purposes. When those who would have wanted to go abroad were asked why they didn't, 33% said the main reason was a lack of funding and the expense of staying abroad. A quarter said that family commitments prevented them from going abroad. Young women were much more likely to select this reason than young men (31% vs. 19%). Similarly, respondents with only lower secondary general education qualifications were more likely to choose this reason (38%) than respondents in other educational groups (24%-28%).

More younger Europeans want to set up their own business in the future

43% of young Europeans said they would like to set up their own business in the future, while 42% were not interested. The proportion of those keen to set up their own business was considerably higher among 15-19 year-olds (50%) than 30-35 year-olds (34%) and among those with VET and higher education qualifications. 6% of respondents said they had already set up their own business. Young people in Bulgaria were the most likely to want to set up their own business (74%) while young Italians were the least likely (27%). The reasons cited for not wanting to set up their own business varied but one in seven said it was too risky and 13% thought it would be too complicated.

Participation in an organisation

Almost half (46%) of young Europeans are involved in a sports club, youth club, or in a youth or cultural organisation.

Participation in voluntary activities

Roughly a quarter of young people (24%) said that they had been involved in an organised voluntary activity in the 12 months before the survey.

Participation in elections

Eight out of ten young people (79%) say that they voted in a political election during the past three years, either at the local, regional, national or European level.

Method of the survey

For this Flash Eurobarometer “Youth on the Move” (No 319a+b) 57 000 young Europeans were interviewed by telephone between 26January and 4 February 2011. The section on education, training, mobility and employment covered the age group 15-35 and included the EU 27 Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey. The section on youth participation in society covered young people aged 15-30 in the 27 EU Member States.

To know more:

The Flash Eurobarometer report is available at:


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