Youth Unemployment From Ukrainian Perspective

He found in the world without as actual what was in his world within as possible.
James Joyce

While reading textbooks, studying case studies, analyzing data, verifying resources you are dreaming about your great future. While obtaining an internship, you are planning your great successful future. You study foreign languages, improve your communication and IT skills. You follow news and events in your field of study. You prepare yourself for excellent and successful future. But if you are youngster from former Soviet Union state things are getting different for you. You cannot plan anything because there are too many bricks that can fall on your head on your way and thus can prevent you from desired and deserved (!) future. Today I am going to discuss some of them with you – the most visible and the most important for me.

Issue 1. Classical. Authentic. Eternal.

If your father/uncle/boyfriend doesn’t have an enterprise, you won’t get a proper job. Even if you have relevant university/college degree and required skills for the particular job, the system of universal corruption[1] and nepotism[2] won’t give you a chance to get wanted position never and ever. One can write the volumes about corruption and nepotism in our countries, but I prefer not to give any comments on it, because it was always and I don’t see any prospects of changes in this (unfortunately).

Issue 2. Global market influence. S*it happens.

The economic crisis of 2008 collapsed economies of many countries. As for Ukraine, Eastern-European country which left Soviet Union in 1991, the crisis almost destroyed county’s economy. Just by chance (and some international help) Ukrainian economy didn’t reach default[3]. The most visible effect of crisis was on labor market. A huge number of people were dismissed from their positions. Those who weren’t fired were made to work for diminished salary (usually the salaries were diminished dramatically – for half and more from your basic salary). And of course the young workers didn’t have any indulgent while dismissing or cutting down salaries.

After crisis happened it became impossible to find any job in Ukraine. Especially if you are young (and do not have that much experienced). Especially if you don’t have some fluent relatives. A friend of mine Dmytro S.was working for a private bank for more than 2 years. He has a Bachelor degree in Finance, and is working on his Master degree in one of the best Ukrainian universities. He is fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, English, Polish and German. Also he has a lot of certificates from different economic symposiums, conferences and seminars. A year ago he was fired from his position in a bank without any explanations and excuses. The official explanation why this happened was: “Fired because we have to decrease our staff”. Before this happened Dmytro had an unofficial chat with his boss where boss made a hint/proposal to Dmytro about decreasing his salary; but of course Dmytro as ambitious and bright worker didn’t agree with this proposition. After he’s been fired the company took other person on his position – a person without any relevant college degree and without any experience in relevant field; but the person was OK with extremely low salary. I would be happy to say that this is possible only in Ukraine, but I am afraid it is common for many Eastern European and post-Soviet countries now.

Issue 3. Brain drain[4].

One more negative point we have in Ukraine is what westerns call “labor mobility”. For Ukrainian economy and future this phenomenon has tragedy results. A lot of (best) youngsters go abroad in search of better jobs, better opportunities and better future. And very few of them come back to Ukraine. Even though Ukraine needs them… but there are no opportunities for youth in their native country…

Issue(s) 4+. All over youth tensions.

Issues I’m not going to discuss here but they are common for majority of countries, – youth doesn’t have equal status while applying for a position and competing with an experienced person; while studying youngsters should decide whether they want to work now or do other (more important?) stuff like community services, volunteering etc; the problem of lower salaries for inexperienced workers; and some others.

Viktoriia Gnatenko,
European Youth of Ukraine NGO

[1] the abuse of public office for private gain (source: http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/233/What_is_corruption_.html). In post Soviet countries C.is a system of giving and taking bribes everywhere and everytime.

[2] patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics (source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nepotism )

[3] act of failing to meet a financial obligation, loss resulting from failure of a debt to be paid, fail to pay up (source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/default )

[4] The loss of skilled intellectual and technical labor through the movement of such labor to more favorable geographic, economic, or professional environments. (source: http://www.answers.com/topic/brain-drain )