This article investigates whether employment instabilities are rising among young people in Germany and whether certain groups of young people are at a particularly high risk of experiencing these instabilities. The analyses are based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (Gsoep) and refer to the period from 1984 to 2002; they include young people from Eastern and Western Germany as well as migrants of three different educational cohorts. The results show that young people in Germany are confronted with rising problems in their attempt to gain foothold on the labour market - both, directly after leaving the educational system as well as in their early career phase. This development led to a relative strengthening of social inequality structures among young people in Germany as they especially affected already disadvantaged groups of educational system leavers.
Keywords: Early career, labour market entry, labour market, life-course, social change, social inequality