Youth Unemployment – is it really that bad?

  22nd March 2011      
 Company News, Employment

Recently there has been a large focus upon the lost generation of 16-24 year olds struggling with a toxic combination of a lack of jobs and cuts to education spending. Yet according to the CIPD, the youth unemployment level isn’t quiet as bad as the official statistics would have us believe.

It appears that only a small minority of the young actually feel the severe difficulties of youth unemployment. It is only properly understood in the context of greatly increased participation in post 16-year-old education in recent decades. Additionally, the Office for National Statistics found that 30% of young people classified as unemployed are actually in full-time education. This distorts public perception of both the level and rate of youth unemployment.

The large chunk (30%) of this total, which is classified as unemployed, is actually taken up by students searching for casual, part-time work. This category is being lumped in with the graduates who have spent months, even years searching for gainful employment.

This research leads to the CIPD suggesting more accurate figures of one in eight rather than one in five unemployed 16-24 year olds. Therefore the figures aren’t as bad as you would think, they just appear so due to inaccurate data and an increase in the participation of further education.

Despite the CIPD suggesting a lower rate of youth unemployment, the revised figures don’t provide any comfort that the jobless so desperately need. However, the more realistic picture of the scale of the problem will, in time, help move the policy narrative beyond the simplistic ‘lost generation’ rhetoric.

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