This book sets out to examine the effects of the Great Recession on youth employment and the soaring and varied rates of youth joblessness across Europe. In countries hit hardest by the recession, young people have faced some of the largest obstacles in finding stable employment, or any kind of employment.

Even in countries with a better performance record of getting young people into work, there were still significant pockets of youth, categorised as those not in employment, education or training (NEETs), who struggled to make successful and sustainable transitions into employment. This was not altogether a new feature of European labour markets, but the Great Recession exacerbated these problems, and in some cases even reversed previous successes.

The STYLE project

Against this background the EU funded STYLE project set out to examine the obstacles and opportunities affecting youth employment in Europe. This involved 25 research partners, an international advisory network and local advisory boards of employers, unions, policy makers and Non-Governmental Organisations from 19 European countries, including Turkey.

The aim of the project was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the causes of very high unemployment among young people and to assess the effectiveness of labour market policies designed to mitigate this phenomenon.

Contributions to this volume

The contributions to this volume are intended to provide an accessible summary covering the breadth of research conducted in the project. Authors here discuss the distinctive characteristics and challenges of the current phase of youth unemployment related to labour market flexibility, skills mismatch, migration, family legacies and the increasing role for EU policy learning and transfer.

The book includes over 90 authors and more than 60 individual contributions intended to provide an accessible summary covering the breadth of research conducted, to give a platform for young people’s own perceptions, and to provide an analysis of what needs to be done.

For those interested in following up in more detail, many of the summary findings presented here can be read in full as working papers available on the project website (, and as chapters in the forthcoming book Youth Labor in Transition (Oxford University Press: New York).

Finally, through these multi-media platforms we will have met the European Commission’s expected impact from the project: first, to advance the knowledge base that underpins the formulation and implementation of relevant policies in Europe with the aim of enhancing the employment of young people and their transition to economic and social independence. And, second, of equal importance, to have engaged with relevant communities, stakeholders and practitioners in the research with a view to supporting employment policies in Europe that impact upon the lives of young Europeans.