Employment opportunities for young people examined by Committee

21 July 2016

The Work and Pensions Committee launches an inquiry into employment opportunities and support for young people.

Aim of the inquiry

The Committee considers whether current provision for young people is sufficient to enable their full access to and participation in the labour market and identify ways of improving this. This will focus on support in the transition from education to employment, the support offered to young people via Jobcentre Plus, and issues around progression and quality of work for young people.

Call for written submissions

The Committee invites written submissions addressing one or more of the following areas:

Services for young people

  • To what extent does getting young people into work and supporting them in work require an approach distinct from that of other groups?
  • What is the likely impact of the end of the Youth Contract on labour market prospects for young people who are NEET (not in education, employment or training), and is action required to mitigate this impact?
  • Is current mainstream Jobcentre Plus provision adequate to meet the needs of all young people, including NEETs and unemployed graduates?
  • What do employers look for from their younger employees and potential employees, and how can Jobcentre Plus support them in finding this?

Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools

  • How effective is Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools likely to be in enhancing young people's career prospects?
  • Are there any areas of potential tension between Jobcentre Plus advisors in schools and current school career advice provision, and if so, how could these be overcome?
  • How can DWP ensure that schools engage with the initiative, and how should its impact be monitored?

Support beyond Jobcentre Plus

  • How can Jobcentre Plus services for young people be more effectively integrated with other local services, especially around education and skills?
  • What broader measures, especially those aimed at employers, should be Government prioritise to improve the employment rates of young people?

Longer-term labour market prospects

  • How do changes in job quality and availability since the crisis affect young people? How is the decision to exempt young people from the National Living Wage affecting their experiences of employment?
  • What is likely to be the impact of any forthcoming economic uncertainty on young people, and how should the Government best seek to protect them from this?

Submit your views through the Employment opportunities for young people inquiry page.

Deadline for written submissions is Monday 5 September 2016.

Inquiry background

Youth unemployment began rising sharply following the financial crisis, peaking at around one million in 2011/12. Since then it has dropped to similar levels as before the crisis, at around 600.000

UK unemployment rates (%)

Chart comparing UK unemployment rates between the general population and the 16-24 group from 2006 to 2015

Despite this, at 14.9% in 2015 (House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper, PDF 535KB), the youth unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the overall unemployment rate of 5.4%. The number of young people who are NEET (not in employment, education or training) has also returned to levels that are comparable to before the crisis. However, as of Q1 2016, 105.000 young people were long-term unemployed (out of work for twelve months or more), down 7.000 from the previous quarter, and 69.000 from the previous year. This represents 16.6% of all unemployed 16-24 year olds.

As such, although young people's employment rates have somewhat recovered since the crisis, there are still areas of concern.

For young people in work, increased job stability and tenure may also be having a negative impact on them at the start of their careers, creating promotion and progression blockages. These risk having a 'scarring' effect on their future employment prospects.

A number of recent and forthcoming developments will affect young people's experiences of the labour market, both in and out of work. These include:

Chair's comment

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

"The transition between school and work can make or break a young person's job prospects. For those who struggle to find and keep their first job, every day brings with it the prospect of merely existing, rather than living a fulfilling life. I therefore hope the Committee will be able to gain substantial evidence on how best to prevent anybody failing through the cracks and drifting towards long-term unemployment before their adult life has even begun."

Committee Member, Mhairi Black MP, said:

"Many young people are struggling to transition into the workplace, and it is so important to assess the role of the Jobcentre in this situation. This is a many facetted issue, and I am hopeful that the Committee will be able to accrue the relevant evidence to address it, and prevent any young person falling into the trap of economic and social uncertainty that comes with being unemployed."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

Share this page