Generation in Europe in 2023: Building Pathways to Economic Mobility

In 2023, we found ourselves navigating yet another turbulent landscape marked by persistent challenges, notably high inflation rates and economic instability. Despite strides towards recovery, unemployment remained high in several European regions, underscoring the need for pragmatic solutions in the employment sector. On a brighter note, at a pan-European level, the year revolved around the promotion of green and digital skills, amplified by initiatives such as the European Year of Skills. Europe has been at the forefront of the green and digital transition, emphasising the pivotal role of upskilling and reskilling its citizens to mitigate the potential challenges the transition will present to the future of work. In line with this transformation, Generation has been equipping underrepresented individuals across Europe with transferable skills and placing them into meaningful jobs that would otherwise be inaccessible. 

Impact

Across five European countries—France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the UK—Generation Europe, part of the larger Generation network comprising 18 country affiliates, has grown its presence by offering employment programs in 76 cities across 26 different professions and placing graduates with more than 2,500 employers. Out of the 4,678 individuals who enrolled in our programs in 2023, 2,977 graduated in areas such as technology, healthcare, customer service and sales, skilled trades, and green jobs. Notably, 40% of our graduates in 2023 are women, and 73% are under 30 years old, with 68% having vocational or lower technical training. Most of our graduates come from underserved communities who face systemic barriers to employment. Even amidst economic volatility, 87% of our graduates found jobs within 6 months of graduation. After joining Generation, they’ve seen their average earnings increase by 1.4 times, and 82% remained employed 180 days after finding a job. In addition, 73% of the European alumni engaged in paid work are in a role that is related to their Generation training, while 53% can save money, showcasing the lasting impact of our programs.

Advocacy

We made progress in advancing our advocacy and thought leadership agenda throughout 2023. 

Generation’s global “Launching a Tech Hiring Revolution” report highlighted the struggle to recruit entry-level tech talent, emphasising the need for employers to reassess their hiring practices, and reflected a survey of thousands of job seekers, workers, and employers across eight countries which included France, Germany, and the UK. Later in the year, additional global research, “The Midcareer Opportunity”, developed in partnership with the OECD, highlighted the untapped potential of midcareer and older workers (aged 45+) in the job market in seven European countries and the US, putting together a series of practical interventions for both employers and policymakers.

We actively engaged with several pan-European initiatives, solidifying our commitment to innovation and skills development across Europe. We joined EIT’s Deep Tech Talent Initiative pledge, and became members of the EU Pact for Skills and the European Vocational Training Association (EVTA), with the goal of addressing the critical need for skilled talent in the EU. Furthermore, our involvement in the OECD research on diversity in tech and skills-based practices highlighted the importance of diversity in shaping more inclusive workplaces. Generation also contributed to the OECD online event with a featured panel speaker, amplifying our voice in advocating for skills diversity and equitable employment opportunities. In addition, we participated as speakers in various high-level events, such as: the “Skills for a More Resilient EU Workforce” organised by Bruegel (i.e. the leading economic think tank in the EU), which focused on equipping people with the skills they need to adapt to a rapidly changing labour market; the PwC’s conference focused on how Europe can unlock the skills needed for the future as AI is gradually transforming the economy, an event in which Nicolas Schmit, the EU Commissioner for Jobs, was also a speaker; and the UK Mission to the EU panel event “Skills for Solar”, which discussed the importance of green skills for the growing green economy and highlighted the small number of women and young people working in the green sector.

These events helped build new relationships and solidify old ones, allowing Generation to highlight the data and learnings we can bring to the field and creating a foundation for doubling-down on our efforts in 2024.

Milestones

Generation celebrated remarkable milestones and anniversaries across Europe in 2023. Generation Ireland marked its third anniversary with the event “New Career Pathways for a Positive Future” hosted by JP Morgan, showcasing how the business community can break down barriers towards a more diverse workplace through a skills-first hiring approach. Generation Italy celebrated its fifth anniversary and launched women-only tech cohorts through its DigitHer initiative, in order to boost female representation in the tech careers sector. Generation UK’s Skills Bootcamp & Social Mobility Summit hosted by BlackRock brought together key economic mobility stakeholders and Generation alumni who shared their stories. Generation Spain expanded the reach of its successful PV Solar Panel installation program, while Generation France reached a new milestone of 1,400 graduates.

Recognition

Our achievements were recognized by prestigious organisations and bodies across Europe. During the European Institute of Technology’s Deep Tech Talent Awards, Generation Spain secured the 1st prize in the “Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing” category with our Robotics Process Automation program, while Generation Ireland was awarded the 2nd prize in the “Information Technologies and Connectivity” category with the IT Support with Cybersecurity program. Generation Ireland also received the Tech Impact Award at the Diversity in Tech Awards for promoting inclusion in entry-level workforce employment. These accolades underscore our commitment to support economic mobility across Europe. Everyone should have access to a good job and income that can help them and their families have a better life.

2024

As we gear up for 2024, the year we’ll celebrate our 10th anniversary, Generation remains resolute in preparing underprivileged and underrepresented individuals for the fast evolving labour markets. Our commitment to support workforce development and economic mobility has never been stronger as we navigate the employment landscape. In 2024, we aim to expand our portfolio of programs, geographical reach within existing countries, and our network of partners, especially at a pan-European level. We are determined to continue making progress towards our mission of transforming education to employment systems to prepare, place, and support people into life-changing careers that would otherwise be inaccessible.