Youth unemployment has been an escalating problem in the UK since 2005.
Most recent rises are directly attributable to economic issues. Unemployment while young is linked to long-term reductions in wages, increased chances of subsequent periods of unemployment, and poorer health outcomes.
So, what are the facts? Internationally speaking, young people are approximately three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. Greece had the highest rate of youth unemployment in the EU in July-September 2019 at 34.2%. Czech Republic had the lowest youth unemployment rate at 5.0%. In UK, the percentage of the unemployed youth labour force in 2019 was 12%.
141,000 unemployed young people in UK were in full-time education (29% of all unemployed young people) in October-December 2019. The unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds in full-time education was 14.1%. For those not in full-time education, the unemployment rate was 10.4%.
Meanwhile, in Portugal, the youth unemployment rate was 18%. In 2019, 68 thousand people under 25 years old were looking for a job. On the other hand, 27.1% of young people between 15 and 24 years old were employed in 2018.
Some of the causes of youth unemployment, besides the economic recession, are the lack of jobs, the gaps between education and employment, the lack of young people’s skills or qualifications needed for work, the rise in the retirement age, the employment legislation, the recruitment methods and the lack of quality of the vocational pathways.
Youth employment will bring unpleasant consequences, for sure. Experiencing unemployment in youth can lead to emotional and psychological problems, lower self‐esteem, and can also reduce a person’s lifelong earning and career potential. The financial costs of supporting unemployment are huge: the cost of youth unemployment over the next decade has been estimated at £28 billion. Welfare and medical support can cost billions. It will affect businesses and the prosperity of the UK, once if employers recruit workers with little or no work experience, the next generation of leaders and innovators won’t be ready to compete in the ever-changing world economy.
Although this problem seems too hard to solve, youth unemployment can still be fixed. And how?, you may ask. Well, increasing the employer support, creating a welfare system that helps young people to find employment or training opportunities, improving the quality and relevance of vocational routes and qualifications and reducing employment legislation that creates a barrier for employers to work with young people are some measures that can be taken in order to fight youth unemployment.