Young people in traineeships

Pay Rise Campaign – Briefing paper

Young people in traineeships

Traineeships are supposed to ease the path from education to work, and should have a strong training or learning element. In reality, they are often used to supply cheap, or even unpaid, labour. Some 61% of university graduates across Europe have undertaken at least one traineeship. Some do provide useful training, and some are combined with study. However, only 20% pay enough to cover basic living costs, sinking to 12% in Spain, and only 27% lead to an offer of employment. Traineeships too often amount to an unpaid probationary period which ends in nothing because the trainee is replaced with another trainee.

Background on traineeships

A specific form of precarious work for young people is the misuse of traineeships – either because they are used as cheap labour (as a substitute for a worker on a regular contract) or not paid.

A European Commission study in 2013, based on interviews with 12,921 young people, found that 46% had undertaken at least one traineeship, as had 61% of graduates.

They can be short, with training, but they often amount to an unpaid, or badly paid trial period. The number of young people taking a traineeship after completing their studies varies between countries, but comprised a majority in Spain, Slovenia and Croatia.

Only 27% move into a job, while 23% are offered another traineeship. Only 40% are paid, and of those only 46% are paid enough to cover basic living costs. In Spain, only 29% among the 42% who received payment said it was enough to live on. In 10 EU countries, trainees said their pay did not cover their living expenses: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Croatia.

Percentage of those interviewed in 2013 who had undertaken a traineeship

At least one traineeship At least one after completing studies
EU27 46 33
Belgium 64 23
Bulgaria 36 49
Czech Republic 9 25
Denmark 38 15
Germany 74 38
Estonia 52 11
Ireland 20 53
Greece 28 42
Spain 35 67
France 73 19
Italy 31 42
Cyprus 79 17
Latvia 15 21
Lithuania 8 46
Luxembourg 65 21
Hungary 45 22
Malta 12 45
Netherlands 79 12
Austria 53 39
Poland 24 36
Portugal 38 56
Romania 10 27
Slovenia 29 68
Slovakia 8 38
Finland 66 17
Sweden 30 27
United Kingdom 56 28
Croatia 22 60

Flash Eurobarometer 378,

https://data.europa.eu/euodp/en/data/dataset/S1091_378

 

Percentage of those interviewed in 2013 who had undertaken a traineeship with compensation

Received compensation Of which, sufficient for basic living costs
EU27 40 46
Belgium 19 38
Bulgaria 42 57
Czech Republic 61 70
Denmark 31 69
Germany 38 39
Estonia 50 62
Ireland 65 75
Greece 57 38
Spain 42 29
France 39 42
Italy 30 53
Cyprus 29 51
Latvia 61 67
Lithuania 67 62
Luxembourg 44 44
Hungary 43 45
Malta 54 67
Netherlands 57 32
Austria 69 64
Poland 70 30
Portugal 36 58
Romania 55 56
Slovenia 81 69
Slovakia 51 64
Finland 46 70
Sweden 46 61
United Kingdom 29 68
Croatia 48 48

Flash Eurobarometer 378,

https://data.europa.eu/euodp/en/data/dataset/S1091_378

Link to video: “Internships can either be fair or free, not both! #OurPayRise”: https://youtu.be/srvD6iGSOlE