Policy Brief

Youth guarantees: A response to the youth employment crisis?

International Labor Organization (ILO)
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Publication Year:
May 06, 2020
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Youth guarantees: a response to the youth employment crisis?


What is a youth guarantee?

The concept of youth guarantee implies an entitlement to a job, training or education of a defined group of young people and an obligation for the Public Employment Service (PES) or another public authority to provide the services and/or implement the programmes within a given period of time. In contrast to typical active labour market policies, youth guarantees provide the entitlement to certain measures for all young people who fulfil pre-established criteria.

The Nordic European countries were the first to implement youth guarantees in the 1980s and 1990s. These include Sweden (1984), Norway (1993), Denmark (1996) and Finland (1996). More recently, other countries have embarked on similar youth employment programmes. These include Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.

Not all the programmes that are currently in place establish an entitlement for the target group to employment, education or training. In Germany, for example, the government and social partners have committed to ensuring sufficient positions in the dual apprenticeship system, although young people are not entitled to participate in an active measure by law. Likewise, the obligation of the PES in the Netherlands and Poland to provide placement services and access to activation measures for a defined group of young people does not entail a claim for the participants to a job, training or enrolment in education. It is also noteworthy that some guarantees, such as in Denmark, not only grant an entitlement but, at the same time, imply an obligation on the part of the registered young unemployed to participate in the measures.

In this policy brief, programmes that entail an entitlement to participation for the target group are referred to as guarantees and programmes that are not based on such entitlement are referred to as similar youth employment programmes.


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