Good job

Good job

AFTER graduating from the University of Barcelona with a degree in special education three years ago, Miss Georgia Quiles, 25, began hunting for a job.

The only one she has held since then - 10 hours a week as a relief teacher.

Graduate friends have had to settle for being shop assistants and theatre ushers. They are part of what has been dubbed "the Lost Generation" in ailing European economies and others struggling with rising rates of youth unemployment.

"There are no jobs," says Miss Quiles, referring to her home city of Barcelona in the north of Spain.

"When you finish your degree, it's the moment to start work and to begin your life, when you make plans for your future, but you don't have opportunities," she adds.

Earlier this year, she and her boyfriend decided to move to Singapore. As she is qualified to teach Spanish, she rang a Spanish-language school here and was offered a job before she left home.

Her boyfriend found a job as an architect within a month.

Her experience illustrates the opportunity divide that has opened up between young people in troubled economies like Spain, and their peers in places like Singapore where the vast majority of fresh graduates land full-time jobs with a decent pay within months of graduation, and some even before that.

Singapore Management University law graduate Doreen Chia, 23, received a job offer from law firm Harry Elias Partnership a year before graduation.

To her, that is the norm as "almost everyone gets a training contract" before they graduate, she says of her law faculty peers.

Others wait just a little longer. More than nine in 10 polytechnic and university graduates here who entered the job market last year snagged jobs within six months of graduation.

Singapore's jobless rate for youth aged 15 to 24 was 6.7 per cent last year - one of the lowest in the world, as Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin highlighted this week at a polytechnic graduation ceremony. Spain's is 53.1 per cent.

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