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Crisis accelerates decline in self employed under 40s with low or medium qualifications

But highly educated under 40s make up an increasing share of the self-employed, even if the crisis has limited their growth to 250,000 new jobs

Raising educational attainment and providing relevant skills and competences in a lifelong perspective is crucial for the EU, especially for the low skilled. Among other objectives, this is to increase competitiveness and employability in a time of significant changes.

This is also true for the young self employed who constitute a small but important segment of the labour market. The indicator presented here focuses on the number of self employed (with or without employees) as a percentage of all workers aged less than 40. The indicator is broken down by education level.

 

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Data source: Cedefop’s calculations based on Eurostat, Labour Force Survey

 

Key points 

  • The self-employed account for 10.5% of all workers in the EU aged less than 40: most are medium-skilled self employed (5.2%), but around one fifth (2.3%) are low-skilled. 
  • The crisis has had a significant impact on low and medium skilled self employment for under 40s at EU level: the low-skilled have decreased (-74,000 in 2005-2007, but which accelerated significantly to -367,000 in 2007-2009). Medium skilled have also dropped (-59,000 in 2005-2007, and again a major contraction of -342,000 in 2007-2009). However, highly-skilled self employment grew 223,000 between 2005 and 2007 and a further 31,000 between 2007 and 2009), even though a slight decrease has been recorded between 2008 and 2009 (-33 thousands). 
  • Self employment for under 40s is highest by far in Greece and Italy: respectively 19.8% and 19.2% of all workers aged less than 40; and lowest in Denmark and Luxembourg (respectively 5.2% and 4.7%). 
  • Among self employed under 40s, the low skilled component is the largest in Portugal, Romania, Spain, Greece and Italy and lowest in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Statistics and graphs Details

07/07/2010
Cedefop