A Scary Trend

Since starting this blog  back in June, I feel like I’ve been avoiding the mention of a certain topic that’s on everyone’s minds here in Spain. As much as I would love to only write about the weird/exotic foods that I try and post pictures of my puppy – it’s definitely time I “faced the music” and wrote about what’s really happening over here.

The reality of life here, especially for young university graduates, is not all that bright now a days. This has a lot to do with the fact that the overall unemployment level is around 20% and a staggering 40% for those under 25 years old.

Spain was greatly affected by the financial crisis that began in the US in 2008 and they continue to reel from its negative effects. Because of what happened in the United States over three years ago, this country is still suffering from things such as high unemployment, inflated housing prices, and the inability to obtain loans from banks. Let’s just say times around here have been better – especially for Spain’s young people.

In this article from the Spanish newspaper ABC titled “Youth Unemployment and Education” spills the truth about this disheartening trend. For me, the most upsetting point this article makes is that even the most educated Spanish young people are struggling to get hired after graduating college. According to the article, the current unemployment situation in Spain is defying the norm because not only are those with the least amount of preparation unable to find jobs, but also those who possess a college degree and beyond.

This shows the youth unemployment stats of some European countries - sadly it looks like Spain is seeing the worst of it

Unfortunately, I have met many Spanish people my and Diego’s age who are personally affected by this upsetting situation. It is all too common to come across a young person here who spent 6 years studying to complete a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree ( in fields like marketing, business, and engineering) who had to either settle with a non/very low paying internship or is still without work after a year or more of searching.

To top it all off, the majority of companies and now requiring a high level of English for all their potential candidates. So not only is there an enormous pressure on the Spanish youth to find a job in an almost non-existing market, but there’s also the added stress of the need to master a foreign language to even be considered for an entry level position.

Of course the fact that the majority of the people here are hard-pressed to learn English means I have a sense of job security. Yet I find it hard to enjoy the relative ease it was for me to find a good paying job when so many other people my age (who are way more qualified) are struggling to get hired. I suppose all I can do though is be grateful for the opportunity I have and try my hardest to make sure to teach my classes to the best of my abilities.

On the bright side, however, this weekend is Election Weekend in Spain! This means that more than likely a new political party will win as president and perhaps bring about some changes to the current rate of unemployment. I find myself feeling optimistic with the election upon us even though the experts insist that it will be many years before Spain returns to the thriving force it once was.

Is it this difficult for young people to get hired in the US?

How would you feel if all the places you looked to get a job required that you speak at least one other language? 

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8 thoughts on “A Scary Trend

  1. This was a really interesting article Ray Ray! Finding a job out of college is still pretty hard here in the states, but I feel like it’s even worse for the older generation who’ve worked for the same company most of their lives and are re-discovering what it’s like to be looking for work again decades later. Not only do they have the disadvantage of being behind on the current networking and social media trends, but they are also looking for work at a pay-grade higher than what many employers are looking to give to inexperienced kids right out of school. I’ve also read that a lot of companies (illegally) discriminate against job seekers who are already unemployed, and rather giving favor to candidates who already have a job.

    • Great comment Rox! I had no clue about the discrimination part – and it’s true, maybe it’s even worse for older people who find themselves jobless because they have the pressure of proving for a family/paying for other expenses.

      On a side note, I hope we can Skype soon! 🙂

  2. Having failed miserably at repeated attempts to master even basic Spanish, I feel very blessed to have been born into the dominate language of the ages. I am disheartened by Spain’s desolate economy and the meager job opportunities for their youth. If the government in power is responsible for Spain’s higher than norm unemployment rate, I am very glad that they have the ability to change leadership through non violent means.

    I wonder if the government in power is the only reason Spain’s economy is in such turmoil.

    • No I don’t think it’s because of a certain political party… I think the reforms that they’re going to make now have been necessary for a long time but it took this crisis to create a “fire under their butt” to get movin’! 😉

  3. Brenna has her degree from U of Minn. and is now working in a French Bakery Restaurant, near Minneapolis. This summer she went to Alaska for a month and helped cooked in a fishing camp. Neither have much to do with making Movies, which is what she wanted to do, but it does pay. We first had Gazpacho in Spokane 25 yrs ago we have it every summer… We are keeping up with u through the stories your mom tells at church. We are thinking about you!!!

    • Hi Mrs. Erickson! Glad to hear that my mom is keeping you guys in the loop 🙂 If Brenna ever wants a change of scenery, she could always try teaching English in Europe! Especially here in Spain they have a lot of programs offered to native English speakers to come here and work for a year or two… she should think about it 🙂

  4. Hi Rachel! Mom mentioned your blog this morning in church so I thought I would check it out!!! I lost my job in August and it is pretty scary looking for a job when you are almost 60 years old! The job market is not good for anyone… young or older. I decided to start my own private practice (clinical social work) and hope that it will grow. Elizabeth will graduate in June with her master’s degree and I wonder where she is going to find a job.

    • Hi Mrs. Z! O my goodness, I’m sorry to hear about you losing your job 😦 But it sounds like there is promise in your own private practice! I’ll pray for its success 🙂 Thank you so much for thinking of me and for the updates on Elizabeth – best of luck to her! 🙂

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