Young people: a first account of promising hiring

Youth are among the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of employment. As young graduates, the search for a first qualified job is laborious, especially in companies that are suffering from the crisis. In order to support employment in companies, and give young people a chance to find their place on the labour market… The Government has put in place the “1 Youth 1 Solution” Plan, aimed at developing the recruitment of young graduates under the age of 26. A program that helps to revive the country’s economy thanks to the newly graduated young collaborators.

Youth employment, a hand extended towards stable hiring

The Youth Employment Assistance (AEJ) greatly facilitates the recruitment of new employees within companies. Young people under the age of 26, on permanent contracts or on fixed-term contracts of more than 3 months. For employers, meeting these criteria makes them eligible to apply for financial assistance of up to €4000. A useful support to resume its activity without making compromises between recruitment and economic recovery. In terms of income, the employee must receive a remuneration of less than or equal to twice the amount of the SMIC.

Young business meeting team
Young people are the collaborators of tomorrow.

After the aid plan is put in place, companies take the turn and hire young people who meet these conditions. Between August and December, more than 310,000 applications for aid were made by employers. Of these requests, 240,000 were met. This allows the employment of young people on permanent or long-term contracts to jump by 7%. This represents about 66,000 new jobs.

Despite this positive result, it has no significant effect on total youth employment. The negative effect of aid on self-employment or temporary employment of 22-25 year olds is greater. The health situation has a strong impact on recruitment figures, especially for young people. Finding a first job is not without difficulties, as certain sectors such as tourism or culture are slowing down. Others, on the contrary, recruit widely, with growing needs. This is particularly the case in real estate or industry, to name but two examples.

These contracts allow young people to turn to jobs with stable contracts. A great impetus to launch his career, after a diploma, and a security for the future.

Fears for the present and the future

In mid-2020, youth employment experienced a significant decline. The employment rate of young people under 30 is down by three points in comparison with mid-2019… And that of the under-26s by 4 points. The situation is a source of fear for young people, who feel vulnerable from a socio-economic point of view in the face of the current situation.

DARES youth employment study
Source: Continuous employment survey, raw data, INSEE.

What frightens them most is a potential adverse impact of the situation on their future professional integration. The government’s 1 Youth 1 Solution plan responds to these fears by proposing concrete solutions to support youth employment.

It thus offers assistance for all alternance recruitment; the strengthening of existing mechanisms such as assisted contracts or the YEA. This plan benefits all employers, regardless of the size of the company or sector of activity. This aid is no longer available for all contracts signed after 31 May 2021. It is always possible for all contracts signed in advance, with a period of 4 months after signature to make the request for assistance.

After a sharp decline in the second quarter of 2020, the employment rate of 22 to 25 year olds eligible for the YEA is rebounding sharply. A rate of 40% against 39% the previous year, for hirings on permanent or fixed-term contracts of more than three months. In comparison, hiring for 26- to 29-year-olds is more down, with a two-point decline. The latter category is not eligible for aid and is suffering from the reality of the impact of the crisis on employment.

For young people, the establishment of the YEA is good news. Thus, the majority of contracts concluded are for contracts of indefinite duration.


  1. First evaluations of support for the recruitment of young people. Press release of 26 May 2021
  2. Youth employment assistance – Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de l’Insertion 3 June 2021
  3. What have been the effects of support for the recruitment of young people on youth employment? DARES press release published in May 2021
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