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Stark gap in employment rates for young Londoners from ethnic minorities

Angelo Evangelou

08 April 2014

A paper released 8th April 2014, London: A Tale of Two Cities, from The Work Foundation will show that London still faces a huge youth unemployment problem which particularly affects young people from ethnic minorities. It reveals a gap of 18 percentage points between the employment rates for white British young people (86%) compared to those from Black African and Caribbean ethnic groups (68%).

The analysis examines the labour market in London and looks at how the map of youth unemployment changed between 2001 and 2011 (see map in appendix). It will show that outer London boroughs - such as Barking & Dagenham (24%), Waltham Forest (22%), Enfield (21%) and Redbridge (20%) - now register rates as high as those of the worst performing inner London boroughs, such as Newham (22%), Lewisham, (20%) and Hackney (20%).

However, given these new youth unemployment hotspots follow wider changes in the location of poverty and deprivation in London, the paper argues that current policies aren’t doing enough to tackle the root causes of youth unemployment. Instead, it will say that more needs to be done to improve the position of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds if the Mayor and GLA are to impact upon the stark employment gap that exists between young people from different ethnic backgrounds.

The report’s lead author, Ceri Hughes, research assistant at The Work Foundation said: “These stark gaps in employment rates among ethnic minorities need to be addressed. But it’s not just about targeting particular ethnic groups. London is home to large numbers of people in poverty who are likely to have fewer resources to draw on in supporting their children as they transition into work. At present, these inequalities are not sufficiently accounted for, leaving these groups further disadvantaged.

“Much policy attention has focussed on growing the number of apprenticeships, and additional resources have been drafted in to achieve the Mayor’s apprenticeship targets. But young people also need to be given better information and support so that they can continue in education, access further training, or enter sustainable employment.”

The report - supported by Trust for London, Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation (Impetus – PEF) and Barclays - concludes by setting out three key areas that need to be addressed to support young people to access employment in London:

Providing more and better careers advice and increasing employer engagement, so that young people are encouraged to consider an array of career options;Improving access to apprenticeships, traineeships and employment opportunities;Supporting young people to move into work by offering concessionary travel fares in the first month of employment and supporting in-work progression


Notes to Editors:

1.     The report’s authors Ceri Hughes and Lizzie Crowley are both available for interviews, briefings and written comment.

2.     This paper is published as part of The Work Foundation’s two year Mission Million programme which reveals the scale of the youth unemployment crisis across the UK and comes up with policies with the aim of increasing the employment prospects of young people in the UK.

3.     A report revealing the scale of the youth unemployment crisis across the UK, The geography of youth unemployment: How local action can tackle the youth unemployment crisis, follows on Wednesday 9th April 2014. For more information, contact The Work Foundation press office.

4.     The report is supported by Trust for London, Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation (Impetus – PEF), and Barclays.

5.     The Work Foundation aims to be the leading independent, international authority on work and its future. The Work Foundation is part of Lancaster University – an alliance that enables both organisations to further enhance their impact.


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Angelo Evangelou 020 7976 3597

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The increase in darker blue areas in 2011 shows the increase in youth unemployment in London’s outer boroughs

Youth unemployment in London (%) 2001               

Youth unemployment in London (%) 2011

Source: Census 2001 and 2011, measure of youth unemployment excludes full-time students; intervals are defined to highlight those areas falling above and below the average rate of youth unemployment across London in 2011 (at 17.55 per cent).