Study: German youth feel poorly prepared for work life

Klaus Hurrelmann: “Youth is critical of the disconnect between education and reality.”

The young generation in Germany has an optimistic view of the future and even though their situation has become quite good, young people are prepared to work hard and are very motivated to achieve.  At the same time, they are quite critical of the lack of preparation for the working world. This is the result of the McDonald’s Ausbildungsstudie 2017 (McDonald’s Vocational Training Study), carried out by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach. The institute surveyed young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Klaus Hurrelmann, Professor of Public Health and Education at the Hertie School, an academic advisor on the study, says, “Young people clearly feel overwhelmed. The traditional commitment to a career as a life-long project, which made sense for their parents, is practically impossible for them. Because conditions can change at any time, they try to stay open to a variety of career paths and subject matter. The high number of young people who break off their studies or professional training  - around a quarter of all training cases – are a symptom of this difficult fit.”

The majority of young people are not happy with education policy and school curriculum.  They criticize the lack of career orientation in the curriculum and the lack of equal opportunities in education and training.

Hurrelmann says, “This criticism is surprisingly clear and sharp. Obviously, there is a change in the mood. Because young men and women no longer have to jump through hoops to hold onto their chance for a career or a training position, they are open for more general considerations and judgments that go beyond their own interests and have a recognisable political component. Young people complain about how schools and universities are equipped and find fault with the striking lack of available teachers. They sharply criticize the disconnect between education and reality. They see a particular deficit in the fact that pupils learn too little in school about the world of work, the economy and finances.”

The full study is available for download here (in German). 

More about Klaus Hurrelmann