News / Europe

Economic Crisis Hits Spain's Youth

Al Pessin
With Spain's economic downturn entering its fifth year, the country's young people find themselves bearing a disproportionate share of the burden.  Overall unemployment is 25 percent, unemployment among Spaniards under 30 years of age is 50 percent.

First-year biology students at Madrid's Autonomous University are among the lucky ones, or so they thought.  They are some of the 30 percent of Spanish youths who go to university.  But with the long recession, they are worried that their degrees will not help them get jobs, even four years from now.

"When the crisis hit they cut funding for scientific research a lot," noted biology student Isola.  "So I am sure I will have to go to another country to do research or whatever because here there is no guaranteed work in scientific investigation."    

It would likely not make them feel any better to meet Sylvana Fernandez, 27, a woman with two business degrees, who that same day was having her first experience in an unemployment line.

"While I was studying, they told us it was a very good career [move] to have, a double degree, and that we would find jobs very easily," said Fernandez.  "And it was not like that.  When we went out it was really difficult to find a job.  We are not able to have a normal life of a 27-year-old boy or girl."

Fernandez had some temporary jobs after she graduated, just as the economic crisis was starting.  But even those have disappeared.  Like many Spanish professionals, she is thinking of leaving the country.

"Here I see that I do not have many opportunities and that my friends are also like me, so that worries me a lot," Fernandez added.  "It is not only me, it is everybody."

Experts say that is particularly unfortunate, because educated workers will be what Spain needs to rebuild its economy.  And millions of less-educated Spaniards will need to upgrade their skills so they can work in services or high-technology industries.  But that is a long and uncertain process that could leave Spain with a generation of discouraged workers, says Analyst Guntram Wolff.

"We are talking here about a lost generation, I mean the people between 20 and 30, they are essentially without a job, 50 percent are without a job," Wolff explained.  "And we know this is a life experience that marks you for your entire life."

Some young people who do not yet have to worry about getting jobs are trying to help those affected by the crisis.  These students from an expensive private high school volunteer at a food distribution center.

"In your life, normally, you ... live with people who have money, who can pay everything, and here are people who came here to... to have a breakfast.  It is an experience that I think every person should live," said Carmen Duque.

More and more Spanish young people are living the experience of economic hard times, one way or another.

You May Like

US States Where Women Work for Free

Women earn less than men in all 50 states More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death Against IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs