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UK’s youth unemployment blackspots revealed in new report

Angelo Evangelou

08 April 2014

A report released on Tuesday evening (8th April 2014), The Geography Of Youth Unemployment - A Route Map For Change, by The Work Foundation will show that even in the recovery the UK’s youth unemployment crisis continues to leave almost one in five young people looking for work are unable to find a job. The youth unemployment problem is so endemic in the UK that even those cities with the lowest rates (around 13%) are still a third higher than the German national average (8.6%) and double that of Germany’s best performing cities (e.g. Hamburg at 5%).

The report examines, ranks, and maps youth unemployment rates for 16-24 year olds across the UK’s largest towns and cities and identifies a number of youth unemployment blackspots (see appendix for tables and maps). It goes onto reveal that those who leave school with only GCSE level qualifications (or less) are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as those with better qualifications. And that significant barriers, such as large disparities in housing prices and private sector rents, prevent many young people from moving to rapidly growing cities where they have an improved chance of finding entry level work.

The paper - supported by Barclays, Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation, and Trust for London - recommends that cities could reduce their rates by ensuring that local services work together more effectively. The authors also support The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s recommendation to establish Youth Transition Partnerships but go on to suggest that this be led by local authorities, supported by Government with dedicated funding to develop strategic plans to tackle youth unemployment and develop clear routes to work or further training.

The paper argues that without effective, targeted action from national and local government, businesses, and educators, a generation of young people in these cities will face a bleak future in the labour market. Policy responses need to be tailored for each city but must include: working with employers to boost apprenticeship take-up, sourcing and co-ordinating work experience places, monitoring and supporting schools in their provision of careers advice and guidance, and ensuring that adequate public transport is in place to tackle local barriers to work.    

Commenting on the paper, Lizzie Crowley, head of youth unemployment programmes at The Work Foundation, said: “The UK’s youth unemployment crisis continues to affect almost a million young people – even in the recovery. It is shocking that in some cities almost a third of young people are looking for work but are unable to find it. Urgent action is needed to ensure young people get the right support to either continue in school, further training or with getting a job.

“Central Government’s top-down attempts to tackle the crisis have failed. Local government must now be tasked with setting up Youth Transition Partnerships to bring together schools, colleges, third sector organisations, and local businesses to develop tailored policy responses suitable for each city. National government must also back these partnerships by providing dedicated funding to ensure they can fulfil this duty effectively.”

/Ends

Notes to Editors:

1.     The report’s authors, Lizzie Crowley and Nye Cominetti 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 paper specifically looking at youth unemployment in London: A Tale of Two Cities, will be released on 8th April. Please contact the Press Office for more information.

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.

6.     Data on Germany comes from the OECD database and is for the year 2012 – data on cities is NUTS 2 level data

7.     Data on cities is from the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Population Survey – the data covers the period 2012 to 2013, and three datasets were combined to provide a sufficiently large sample size for the city level. However, as with all small area data estimation there are margins of error associated with the estimates. In particular margins or error are likely to be larger around the following cities dues to smaller sample sizes: Aberdeen, Grimsby, Brighton, Swindon, Peterborough, Wirral & Ellesmere Port, Cambridge, Reading & Bracknell, Bournemouth, Southampton, Worthing, York

8.     Boundary data for the cities are built up from Local Authority areas to approximate Travel to Work Areas – TTWA are better than administrative boundaries because these can fail to describe functional economic areas. For example, for the Coventry Travel to Work Area, data was combined from two Local Authorities: Coventry and Nuneaton & Bedworth. The map represents these geographic approximations.

9.     For the table of the ranked top 10 and bottom 10 cities for youth unemployment and the map of youth unemployment hotspots please see the appendix. 

Media enquiries:

Angelo Evangelou 020 7976 3597 aevangelou@theworkfoundation.com

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Appendix

A map of the UK Youth unemployment rates in the UK’s largest towns and cities is available here

If you cannot view then contact the press office.

 

Figure 1: Cities with high youth unemployment rates (excluding full time students), 2012-13

Rank (1 = highest rate)

City

Unemployment rate

1

Middlesbrough & Stockton

High > 25%

2

Barnsley

High > 25%

3

Glasgow

High > 25%

4

Grimsby

High > 25%

5

Coventry

High > 25%

6

Bradford

High > 25%

7

Hull

High > 25%

8

Plymouth

High > 25%

9

Doncaster

High > 25%

10

Birmingham

High > 25%

Source: Annual Population Survey, Analysis by The Work Foundation. From 53 cities.

Figure 2: Cities with low youth unemployment rates (excluding full time students), 2012-13

Rank (1 = lowest rate)

City

Unemployment rate

1

Southampton

Low < 13%

2

York

Low < 13%

3

Reading & Bracknell

Low < 13%

4

Cambridge

Low < 13%

5

Aberdeen

Low < 13%

6

Luton & Watford

Low < 13%

7

Worthing

Below average < 17%

8

Bournemouth

Below average < 17%

9

Portsmouth

Below average < 17%

10

Guildford & Aldershot

Below average < 17%

Source: Annual Population Survey, Analysis by The Work Foundation. From 53 cities.