Alarming trend: Over 18,000 young people in Bulgaria are unemployed
The number of young people who are not studying or working is increasing. According to the data of the Employment Agency, the officially registered unemployed under 29 years of age at the end of last month were over 18,000. At the same time, in 2022 they were about 2,000 less.
Young people who are not studying or working and are not registered as jobseekers are much more. According to Eurostat, last year their share in Bulgaria was 15%. The EU average is 11%.
About 1,700 people live in the municipality of Chuprene, Vidin district, northeastern Bulgaria. Young people up to the age of 29 are about 5%. Stefan Ivanov, 25, has been looking for a job for several months:
- No job.
- And what have you been doing so far?
- Worked in the forest.
The young man has a wife and a small child, his father also supports his family.
Plamen Ivanov, Stefan's father: "We provide food for them, everything!"
Many of the young people in Chuprene are without education and qualifications. The municipality hired 24 people under an employment agency programme.
"There was a paradox. We hire them today and tomorrow they go abroad. We are looking for all kinds of options for retraining, creating new conditions for them to be employed for longer period of time," said Maria Todorova, mayor of Chuprene municipality.
Veronika Ilieva is one of the few working young people in Chuprene. She is employed under a temporary employment programme. She has decided to complete higher education:
"I want to become an elementary school teacher; I want to have a good education and it will be easy for me in the future."
Almost half of the young people registered in job centres across the country are without education. An individual action plan is prepared for each unemployed person.
"Our aim is to present a variety of services to those people who need support according to their needs," said Gabriela Dimcheva, Employment Agency.
Silvena Yordanova graduated from the river shipping school in Rousse but is not working in her specialty. She did not continue her studies at university and started working as a waitress. She is now employed under a youth employment programme:
"My friends all work, I have some who don't work because they don't like the conditions, they don't think the pay is good, but by staying at home they will not get any money."
Those employed under employment programmes are paid minimum wage, but some employers provide them with extra pay. Job centres offer training and internships for young people who officially register as unemployed.
"We want them to know that the Job Centre and the Employment Agency are their partners and they can get support, counselling and help for career development with us," explained Gabriela Dimcheva, Employment Agency.
The Employment Agency is trying to attract unemployed youth to register with the Job Centres. In October, more than 10,500 young people were counselled in the framework of the "Working is Cool" campaign. In Hadzhidimovo, Opan and Kovachevtsi municipalities youth unemployment is the lowest - below 5%.