It’s impossible not to hear the despair of youth today: Those pursuing their studies are lost in the complexity of the coursework, the dilapidation of the teaching facilities, the absence of scholarships and student housing.
Those who have finished their studies are either unemployed or employed in shameful conditions: 500,000 under 25 (20% of whom want to work) are unemployed, three times higher than in other age categories, while this rate is only two times higher than the average in the rest of the EU.
Even graduates are not especially protected: how many Baccalaureat +3 or +5 Years are waiters in restaurants or salespeople in retail chains? With, for the poorest, a particularly long unemployment after leaving school, followed by a long period of internships, too often without a job opportunity. And, when they do find a job, it’s almost always in particularly unreliable conditions, with short-term contracts and weakly assured rights in terms of ASSEDIC (Association for Employment in Industry and Commerce): today they must wait until the age of 27 and a half on average to have their first CDI (Long-term contract). Finally, if they are recruited, they are the first to be let go.
Except for a minority – children of professors, of engineers, or informed people who, having the means of knowing the best channels, undertake the best courses of study and obtain, often using connections, the best jobs.
More generally, it’s not surprising that the young very often see the future with despair: globalization puts them in competition with salaried workers as educated as they are and 10 times cheaper; the financial crisis threatens ten years of hard labor in undervalued jobs. The demographic crisis reminds them that they are starting very late to very poorly finance a minimal retirement; the ecological crisis lets them know that the world will become more and more stifling; the geopolitical crisis, finally, shows that that the long parentheses of peace in the West (over 45 years without war, even colonial) could end.
And their despair grows further when they see the triumphant generation of baby-boomers, born during the Thirty Glorious Years upon which everything smiled, living their retirement, more numerous than ever, at their expense. When they understand that politicians of all the parties served and are still serving the interests of these generations; and that the unions are serving the interests of first and foremost of those who are employed, and among those not the youngest ones. What talent wasted by such short-sighted politics. What riches lost, today and tomorrow, with such abandon.
The country has however everything to gain from investing in them. And therefore to demand the institution of a few simple measures: prohibit employing youth for more than six months without a Long-term contract, reduce the additional charges associated with their employment, consider all youths actively looking for a job as undertaking an activity worthy of payment, help them with all means necessary to create their own business, realize their dream; and above all, associate them directly with decision making in political parties, unions, and organizations. If this is not done, we can’t hold it against them for resigning themselves.