University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Editorial: The lost generation

Students and graduates that leave university now are being cheated out of their future, writes the editor of the University Post

In German, the term is Generation Praktikum.

You could also call them a ‘precariat’, a generation of interns that only have a precarious toehold on the job market.

As Europe wades through economic mud, university graduates coming out now have little chance of landing a job.

Privileged clique

It is the harsh, boom and bust logic of generations and job markets: In boom times, new students are hired by businesses and institutions. In times of bust, the few jobs that are there get snapped up by those who already have the network and experience.

In southern Europe, an already hard-hit cohort of students faces youth unemployment rates that leave little hope. Spain had a youth unemployment rate of 45 per cent in mid-2011 and it hasn’t got any better. Greece had nearly 40 last summer, and is now tottering on the brink of bankruptcy.

In these countries, as well as up here in northern Europe, real jobs are kept for the lucky, previous, generation of graduates. It is now a privileged clique of workers and staff, unionised and with high job protection, services and privileges.

Time to be ‘indignant’

Now and in the coming months, the University Post, will put a special focus on what we call the Lost Generation.

It will not be all gloom. The ‘Indignado’ protests in Spain show that this generation will not go dying into the night. And disparate protest initiatives like the ones in Britain against university cuts, Occupy Wall Street in the US, and the anti-ACTA movement show that this generation is not one that will be bludgeoned by a spoilt 1990s graduates’ cohort holding on to their privileges, copyrights and paychecks.

We at the University Post will offer stories of graduates’ pain and suffering. We will urge graduates to find common cause. We will also offer tips for extending networks, for making a life halfway in to that elusive, paid job market, and (who knows?) maybe, sometime in the future, landing that cool job.

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