Unemployed young disabled persons and unemployed young women – by FOLM Project

The recent data on unemployment of young people in European Union shows (July 2021), that, 2.854 million young persons, under 25, are unemployed in the EU, of whom 2.339 million were in the euro area. Thus, the youth unemployment rate was 16.2% in the EU and 16.5% in the euro area, down from 16.9% and 17.2% respectively in the previous months. *  When we look at the unemployment by gender we will – not surprisingly – see, that the unemployment rate for women was 7.3% in the EU, while the unemployment rate for men was 6.5%. *

At the same time, it is very difficult to find hard data and analyzes on unemployment of young people with disabilities, what proves that the problem is not of sufficient concern and analysis.  Data on persons with disabilities are hard to come by in almost every country. Specific data on their employment situation are even harder to find. Yet persons with disabilities face the same predicament everywhere.

People with disabilities make up 15 % of the global population according to the World Report on Disability published by the World Health Organization and the World Bank in 2011. Yet, they are far from adequately represented in labour markets around the world.

People with disabilities are less likely to participate in the labour force, experience higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of employment on the whole than people without disabilities. Additionally, they face lower rates of paid employment that provides financial security or social benefits. More disability-friendly policies are clearly needed to support them and promote their involvement in the labour market.**

Globally, in developing countries, 80% to 90% of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed, whereas in industrialized countries the figure is between 50% and 70%. In European Union there are approximately 40 million persons with disabilities, and of these 43% to 54% were of working age. Persons with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be unemployed than others.***

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006, establishes, in Article 27 (on work and employment), “the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others”. This means that they should enjoy the same access to employment opportunities, remuneration and labour rights as people without disabilities.

Meanwhile, people with disabilities face higher barriers to education than the general population.  It’s a fact, that the average level of education of employed people with disabilities is lower than that of those without: they were two times more likely to have less than primary education. The same pattern could be observed for all other levels of education. These findings do reflect how people with disabilities generally face a number of barriers, including barriers to education at an early stage of their lives. This is particularly true of those who are born with their disabilities or who acquire them in childhood.

Failure to make appropriate provisions to include young people with disabilities in mainstream education, along with other obstacles, has a significant impact on their subsequent labour market outcomes.

Women with disabilities face a double disadvantage in the labour market based on both their gender and their disability status. ****

Young people follow trainings in essential soft and hard skills, such as career counselling, life skills, and work and technical skills.  Meanwhile, in fact there is a problem of the mismatch between the skills they have and the skills they need to find a job. From the employers side – they are simply looking to increase effects, so they often fail to see the potential within people with disabilities due to their lack of understanding about disability or even outright prejudice towards people with disabilities.  Here again: young people with disabilities have greater chances on the labour market than older people. Despite the problems with access to education – which translates into the lack of professional qualifications to take up a job – young people naturally have higher digital competences, more enthusiasm and better health, which translates into professional availability and efficacy.

Another social group struggling with the problem of unemployment are young women. It seems that their situation on the labour market is not the most difficult, compared to older women. Young, well educated, if career-oriented, not family-oriented, they can easily find a job. The situation becomes more complicated later, due to starting a family, and the desire to return to the labour market after giving birth to a child or children. In addition, there are also inequalities related to equal access to jobs with men and the amount of remuneration.  Contrary to the situation of people with disabilities, however, it can be felt that the situation of young women in the labour markets is improving, thanks to making the society aware of the problem, educational campaigns, activists’ struggle for equality, involvement of employers, CSR activities etc., and their professional absence is often a choice and not – as in the case of people with disabilities – an imposed situation.

* https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/11563247/3-01092021-AP-EN.pdf/e045fa11-8a9e-6e60-6967-19088d96af8a

** https://ilostat.ilo.org/international-day-of-persons-with-disabilities-how-disability-affects-labour-market-outcomes/

*** ‘Disabled still face hurdles in job market’, The Washington Times, 5 December 2005

**** https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/resources/factsheet-on-persons-with-disabilities/disability-and-employment.html


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