The ‘cost of living crisis’ is a favourite term thrown around by politicians these days. It’s mainly used by the Labour Party to show how the Conservatives are out of touch. Away from the political nonsense for a moment and we can see there is a real problem.
It’s no secret that wages have not grown at a faster rate than inflation in the last few years. Real salary values have decreased, and this has naturally put a lot of strain on families across the UK.
An often ignored group of people are the students. They’re attempting to better themselves and pursue their dream careers. Yet the National Union of Students has released data stating that meeting the costs of living is now their number one concern.
Loan values and grants haven’t kept pace with the cost of day-to-day living either.
So what sort of impact will this have on career prospects?
Let’s remember that even though students might have their needs taken care of by loans and grants, many do have obligations to their families.
The cost of living means that a lot of students have to go to work to bring in a wage to support their families. After child tax credits run out, this income needs to be supplemented somehow.
We can look at London as a prime example of extortionate living costs. In The Guardian, Sam Forbes wrote an article on living in the houseboat slums of London. He pointed out that it can cost an average of £2,000 to move accommodation in London just in the form of moving costs and deposits.
With costs like these, it’s no surprise that a lot of students have to put their education on hold. Those who still manage to get to university might still have to take a part-time job to send some money home again.
The poorest are being hit hardest by this phenomenon.
Gaining Work Experience
We know that gaining work experience is the key to netting a good job. This is made harder by the fact that university careers agency Prospects said that 43% of all internships remain unpaid.
You might well find it difficult to see how this connects to the cost of living crisis. For the wealthy, it doesn’t, but the poor are falling victim again.
Many of these unpaid internships don’t cover travel costs or lunch. Poorer students can’t afford to take these opportunities because of a lack of financial support at home. If their relatives are too busy paying bills and struggling to make a home for themselves, there’s no other support available.
This severe lack of social mobility only makes it harder for a considerable number of young people to pursue their careers.
High living costs and lower wages only hurt British people. If we look at The Independent, they have said one in five highly skilled positions in the UK is now filled by an immigrant worker.
There’s an increasing level of unemployment because more British workers are being forced to lower their expectations and curtail their ambitions. At the same time, there’s a shortage of skilled British workers.
By hamstringing people financially from the beginning, there’s no way for the domestic population to address these issues.
The only available option for firms is to look abroad for highly skilled professionals. We can’t blame them for doing this. They have a need to fulfill and British people cannot fulfill that need.
Basically, the cost of living crisis is destroying the ambitions of young people all over the country. Without some relief to this problem, this country is going to become one that relies on foreign talent to perform our most important roles.
Image Credit: Flickr user Liberal Democrats