The economic slowdown of the past two years raises concerns for the situation of young job-seekers on the labour market. What new developments are related to the professional insertion of new young job-seekers into the labour market? Which factors contribute to successful transition? These are some of the issues addressed in the latest edition of the Le Forem survey.

Le Forem conducted a survey on the transition to employment of job-seekers aged from 18 to 24, registered for the first time at the Walloon public employment service. The transition of 25 487 young job-seekers (registered at Le Forem between June and October 2011) was analysed during a six-month period following their registration.

A decrease in the rate of transition at all education levels
In 2011, the rate of transition slightly decreased from 57 % to 56 %, while it rose in 2010 by 1% compared to 2009, after a constant decrease between 2007 and 2009. This could be interpreted as a sign of the beginning of an upturn in the economy. The economic slowdown of 2011 and 2012 has produced its effects on the transition of young job-seekers. However, both the period between school and the first job and the duration of employment in the first six months of active life remained quite stable.
The rate of transition decreased in 2011 for all education levels. Yet, it appears that the lowest levels of education (primary education and lower secondary education) are the most concerned by the second wave of the economic crisis.
The education levels showing the highest scores of transition are the first stage of tertiary education (Bachelor) with 74 %, the second stage (Master) with 61 % and part-time education (apprenticeship) with 60 %. This certainly shows that a high level of education is an asset for youth employment.

Most promising degrees
More than the education level, the type of degree plays a key role in professional transition to the labour market. A degree linked to an area of labour shortage can lead to early and long-term insertion into working life.
On the secondary level of education and in apprenticeships, technical degrees such as industrial electricity and mechanics, truck driving, nursing, industrial construction sciences, electrical engineering, building, prevention and security, cooking and (car) body repair lead to a high rate of insertion.
Bachelor degrees leading to the sector of education (primary and nursery school teacher, teaching degrees in mathematics and French), nursing and industrial engineering obtained the highest rate of insertion. The top five Masters consisted of pharmacy, sports, technical engineering, chemistry and bio-engineering.
On the other hand, some tertiary degrees connected to the Arts (graphics, computer graphics, art history) show a low rate of insertion. There are very few job opportunities for these degrees.