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Youth Unemployment in the Spotlight

Two reports published this week have highlighted the plight of young people, looking at the levels of unemployment and the challenges faced by young people in their search for work.

The TUC report Youth Unemployment and Ethnicity published on 16 October, looks at the impact of the 2008 recession on young people from ethnic minority groups including unemployment rates.  It finds that:

  • Young black men have experienced the sharpest rise in unemployment since the coalition came to power, with more than one in four of all black 16-24 year olds currently out of work.
  • White and Asian youngsters are now twice as likely to be unemployed as those from the same ethnic group over the age of 24.
  • The proportion of young people who are not in work or education has been more stable, with worklessness rates for black and Asian youngsters actually falling between 2002 and 2010.  The TUC suggest the most likely cause is that high numbers of young people from these groups entered further and higher education.

While there is no denying the data, the TUC report falls short of identifying the root causes of this situation.  Unfortunately that's the bit of research that would enable policy makers and providers to start to address the needs of this group!  

Click here for the TUC press release.

The second report also published on 16 October, comes from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  The report, Disadvantaged Young People Looking for Work - A job in itself? looks at the state of the labour market for young people with limited education and skills; how employers of low-skilled vacancies recruit; the responses jobseekers get to applications; discrimination in areas with poor reputations; and the implications for government, employers, young jobseekers and those who advise them.

Key findings from the research, which included JRF sending 2,001 job applications from "qualified candidates", included: 

  • Only 24 per cent of low-skilled vacancies found offered full-time, daytime work. Over half of positions offered minimum wage, and 78 per cent paid under £7 an hour, making it less likely that jobseekers could travel far for them.
  • Employers preferred local candidates for such jobs. So although jobseekers need to search beyond their immediate neighbourhood, policies demanding wider geographical searches will not necessarily get more people into work.
  • Some employers advertise vacancies online and close them as soon as they have sufficient applicants to select from. Not all jobseekers were aware how speedily they need to respond to vacancies, and those without internet access at home were at a disadvantage.
  • Despite public perceptions that employers discriminate against residents from neighbourhoods with poor reputations, the study found no significant difference in positive response rates.

A very interesting approach and findings, that should be read by everyone supporting anyone with jobsearch – many of the findings relate to all age groups and not just young people.

Click here to visit the Joseph Rowntree Foundation site.

19 October 2012

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