Young People in the Labour Market: HE Figures Double in 30 Years

The number of young people in further study aged between 16 and 24 has more than doubled in the last 30 years, according to new figures released by the National Office of Statistics.   

69% of young people not in full time further study were employed by the end of 2013, which left 31% of young people in the class of NEETS - "Not In Education, Employment of Training."  

The NEET category is one which creates worry for politicians and social policy makers and the figure is seen as an indicator of general economic health.  

Wolverhampton and Hartley Pool had the highest rate of youth unemployment.  

The youth unemployment rate was seen as the same for youth unemployment in 1984 - a time of severe global recession which affected much of the developed world.  

Working and studying falls 

The number of young people undertaking work alongside full-time study has been falling since the year 2000. Young people were seen to be more likely to work in the lowest skilled jobs in the economy.  
UK compared to EU 

Youth unemployment rate in the UK was lower than the European Union average, however 13 in every 100 young people were unemployed in the final quarter of 2013.   
Report insights  

Barking and Dagenham had the highest inactivity rate for young people who are not in full-time education in the UK, across all areas.   

Barking and Dagenham also had the highest percentage of young people who state they are not working because they are looking after the family or home. Neath Port Talbot has the highest percentage who say they are long term sick or disabled.  

At the end of 2013, 3.03 million (42%) people aged 16 to 24 were in full-time education - this was up from 1.42 million (17%) in 1984. The increase has occurred against a backdrop of a falling youth population, which at 7.20 million is one million lower than in 1984. The overall population of the UK has increased over the same period.   

The majority of young people in full-time education are inactive and at the end of 2013, 64% of students (1.94 million) were not seeking or available to work. 
Around 9% (280,000) of full-time students aged 16 to 24 were unemployed with the remaining 27% (813,000) in employment.  
The percentage of those who combine work and full-time study has been falling since the year 2000, when it peaked at 41%. Most of this fall has happened since 2005 and at the end of 2013 the percentage of students in work was similar to the mid 1980s. Combining work with study does have its benefits.  

The transition from education to joining the workforce may be more difficult without any prior work experience, which can help develop competencies and skills not learned on an educational course. This echoes the advice by AGCAS for students and young people to try and gain work experience as soon as they can to compete later in the employment market.  

Researchers suggest that when people leave full-time education, they then tend to start to look for work following their study and this is therefore a time when unemployment is generally high.  
"Given time, when young people have had more opportunity to look for work, the proportion of them who are unemployed decreases. This generally happens across all qualification levels but the level of qualification held also has an impact on the unemployment proportion. Generally higher qualifications reduce the likelihood of being unemployed as you get older." (National Office of Statistics).   



Source Young People in the Labour Market:  

Image with thanks to Susan Hersh of Flickr (Creative Commons License)