Labour market not delivering for young people
Authors: Dr Neil Lee
Dr Neil Lee
15 February 2012
Today’s labour market statistics are grim reading for young people: 1.04 million young people aged 16 to 24 are now unemployed, an increase of 22,000 from September 2011. The unemployment rate amongst young people is 22.2%, compared to 8.4% overall.
The recession is the immediate cause. Yet the problem has deeper, structural routes in the UK economy. Youth unemployment has been rising since 2001, reflecting changes in the labour market and the economy.
What can be done? The Youth Contract will kick in later this year, and that may have some impact. As part of our Missing Million research programme, sponsored by Barclays and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS), we’ll be investigating some areas for improvement. Our research so far provides some pointers.
First of all, we need more focus on the core. Amongst the million youth unemployed are several groups – some of which are only temporarily unemployed, others are out of work for far longer. Policymakers need to focus on this core group, but they’re often the hardest to reach.
Second, local coordination matters. Young people access a number of services at a local level. They need help to navigate this complexity. Local government often knows when services aren’t joined up but lacks the flexibility to do so. We need to consider how to build better pathways into work at a local level.
But third, these trends reflect longer-term changes in our economy which have been good for many, but bad for some. The architecture which used to support young people into work has been changing. As it is rebuilt it will need to reflect the new world of work.
All blog posts for this author