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Employment: Seven Ways the Young Have Been Hit by Covid

By Eleanor Lawrie & Ben Butcher
BBC News

Young people have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic’s disruption to the jobs market.

The under-25s saw the biggest rise in unemployment during lockdown, and some graduate or entry-level roles attracted thousands more applications than usual.

1. Young people left the workplace first

Under-25s were more likely to be furloughed than any other age group.In the first three months of lockdown, half of eligible 16 to 24-year-olds were placed on the scheme, which supports people unable to work because of the pandemic, compared with one in four 45-year-olds. Hannah Slaughter, economist at the Resolution Foundation think tank, says hard-hit sectors like retail and hospitality – where many jobs cannot be done from home – have a disproportionately young workforce.

Chart showing furloughing

They were also the age group also most likely to lose their job, with the youth unemployment rate rising to 13.1%, compared with 4.1% for the whole UK. About 7% of 18-24 year-olds reported they had been made redundant because of the pandemic, compared with 4% of 50-65 year-olds. The government hopes to address this with its Kickstart scheme, which will pay employers £1,500 for every 16 to 24-year-old to whom they offer a ”high quality” work placement.

young people unemployment

2. Under-25s now make up a third of new universal credit claims

As youth unemployment rose, so too did the number of young people claiming universal credit. By July, just under one in three first-time universal credit claimants was under 25, up from one in five in March.

Chart showing the number of people claiming universal credit

But Ms Slaughter expects youth unemployment to get worse when the furlough scheme ends in October.”Young people are more likely to be in sectors which still aren’t up to the levels of activity before the pandemic” she said.”When businesses start making difficult decisions about redundancies, young people are likely to be disproportionately affected.”

3. Young adults in northern England were worst affected

These changes have not been evenly felt across the country, with more deprived areas seeing a quicker uptake in work-related benefits by young people. Using data on the uptake of universal credit and jobseeker’s allowance, BBC analysis found that the proportion of young people on the benefits had doubled between March and June.

A map of the UK shows where the highest proportion of out-of-work benefit claimants are.

The worst-hit areas were generally in the north of England, with parts of Liverpool and Blackpool most affected. In Liverpool’s Walton area, for example, one in five 16-24 year olds is now claiming universal credit or jobseeker’s allowance – up from 7% in January 2020. In total, 50 constituencies across the UK now have more than 15% of young adults claiming one of the benefits.

4. Online graduate job vacancies fell by 60%

Those looking for a job fresh from university are facing a tough timeThe number of graduate jobs advertised fell 60.3% in the first half of 2020 on one online recruitment website, compared with a 35.5% overall fall in adverts.About 5,000 jobs were listed on the CV-Library platform in January-July in the ”graduate” jobs category, compared with 2,000 a year earlier.

Chart showing competition for grad places

Within that, graduate jobs advertised in marketing fell by 84%, while roles in construction and administration both dropped by more than 70%. Applications only fell by 33%, meaning considerable extra competition for many roles. Twice as many people applied for public sector roles than the year before, and five times as many for IT vacancies. One positive was the average graduate salary on the platform increased by 7.1% year-on-year to £24,626.The fall in vacancies is borne out across the UK. Positions on online platform Adzuna were 45% lower in mid-September than in 2019, according to Office for National Statistics analysis.

5. Apprenticeships have stalled

Companies have taken on fewer apprenticeships over lockdown. From 23 March to 30 June, apprenticeship starts halved compared with the previous year, but this fall was not evenly split between age groups.

Chart showing monthly apprenticeship starts

Unsurprisingly, the sectors which saw the sharpest drop across all age groups were retail and tourism, which both declined by 75%. However, education placements only declined by a quarter.

6. Young people’s pay could be lower for three years after the pandemic

The UK’s financial watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates unemployment will hit 10% by the end of 2020, up from 4.1% last year .If this happens, young people who do find employment will face lower average wages for several years, Resolution Foundation analysis suggests, as they ”trade down” to the best job available.

Chart showing pay

Two years after leaving full-time education, it expects new education leavers’ hourly pay, after inflation, compared with pre-pandemic times, to be:

  • 8% lower for highly qualified leavers (degree and above)
  • 6% lower for mid-qualified leavers (A-level or equivalent)
  • 13% lower for lower-qualified leavers (GCSE and below)

As happened after the 2008 recession, lower-skilled workers are likely to take the biggest hit. But the effect will last longer for mid and high-skilled workers, who may end up in sectors with less opportunity for a pay rise than offered by traditional graduate jobs. That assumes lower-skilled workers can actually get a job. The think tank predicts they are a third less likely to be in employment three years after entering the jobs market, than if the pandemic had never happened.

7. Young people are more likely to stay in education

One positive outcome of the crisis is that younger people may remain in education. This would shield them from the worst of the downturn, and lead to higher productivity and a better-skilled workforce.

Young people are keen to stay on in education.   [ 40.5% of 18 year-olds applied to university by June, a record high ],[ 17% spike in new applications between March and June ],[ 1 year extra study could halve a low-skilled worker's unemployment chances ],[ 10% rise in postgraduate applications in the 2008-9 recession  ], Source: Source: UCAS, Resolution Foundation, Image: Woman in library

To an extent, this happened in the 2008 recession. The effect may be much larger this time around, says Xiaowei Xu of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as sectors like hospitality and retail are also where many people first start working. ”There’s an incentive to staying on in education because of how terrible the economy is, which means that people may receive more and better education.”She adds that this year’s A-Level grade inflation means some students will go to a better university than they would have done.

Career Breaks Are the New Norm – So Why Are They Still Stigmatised?
June 7, 2019
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When we think of career breaks, motherhood tends to spring to mind. But there are many other reasons why people take time
off work, and getting back in isn’t always easy.

Geoff was 44 when he found himself faced with a difficult decision: to leave his 30-year coal mining career behind him and retrain, or to continue doing what he knew best. He was at this crossroads because his 11-year-old daughter was concerned that he was putting himself in danger each day; she was scared of losing her dad. She didn’t know it, but her fear was very much grounded in reality. Mining has the third highest fatality rate of any industry. It now claims the lives of nine workers on average each year, and that number was even higher when Geoff was working in the industry.

With his daughter’s concerns front of mind, he decided to take a leap of faith and retrain as a teacher. Following two years of accelerated study, he found himself in a position where he was entering a new industry for the first time in over three decades. Read more

Sector Response to Apprenticeships and Levy statistics: February 2019
March 4, 2019
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28 February 2019 DfE published their Apprenticeships and levy statistics: February 2019

  • There has been 192,100 apprenticeship starts on the frameworks and new standards reported to date between August 2018 and December 2018 for the 2018/19 academic year, a 9.7 per cent increase compared to the equivalent period in 2017/18 (175,100).
  • At 31 January 2019, there have been a total of 16,400 accounts registered on the apprenticeship service.
  • We have seen 122,700 commitments recorded in the apprenticeship service for the 2018/19 academic year, compared to 98,000 recorded at the equivalent point last year for 2017/18. [A commitment is where a potential apprentice, who is expected to go on to start an apprenticeship, has been recorded on the Apprenticeship Service].

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

“I’m thrilled to see the number of people starting apprenticeships has gone up by 9.7% on this time last year. This is good news and really highlights how employers up and down the country are realising the huge benefits apprenticeships are bringing to their business

“Apprenticeships offer people of all ages and backgrounds a high quality route to skilled employment with the option to train at every level. You get paid while you train and can start a great career in a huge range of professions like accountancy, nursing, teaching and law.

“I want as many people as possible to know about the amazing apprenticeship opportunities out there. Our new campaign ‘Fire it Up’ is playing a vital role in this, helping to challenge outdated perceptions and raising awareness of the huge variety of options available”.

Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) comments on the numbers

 ‘The funding issues have now made the availability of intermediate level apprenticeships for young people in SMEs across the country the biggest problem we face.  The answer is to make level 2 apprenticeships fully state funded whether the money comes from the levy or not.’

The AELP highlighted Intermediate level starts are at 5,800, down 23% from 2017 and 56% from 2016.  So less than half pre-Apprenticeship Levy.

Young People NEET, UK: November 2018
November 27, 2018
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For July to September 2018, there were 760,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET); this number decreased by 23,000 from April to June 2018 and was down 29,000 when compared with July to September 2017.

The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 10.9%; the proportion was down 0.3 percentage points from April to June 2018 and down 0.3 percentage points from July to September 2017.

Of all young people in the UK who were NEET, 37.0% were looking for work and available for work and therefore classified as unemployed; the remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and therefore classified as economically inactive.

YouGov has today (22 Nov) released the Education and Training Statistics for the UK 2018, which specifically state that the NEET rate (Not in Education, Employment or Training) for 18-24 year olds has fallen each year between 2013 and 2017, from 16.8% in 2013 to 12.9% in 2017, including a 0.5 percentage point fall between 2016 and 2017.

Alan Woods OBE 100x100Alan Woods OBE, CEO of VTCT, said:

“It is absolutely imperative that all of us involved in the education and training of young people tackles youth unemployment and it simply isn’t good enough that more than 1 in 10 young people are classified today as not in education, employment or training (NEET). With a growing economy and falling unemployment, we cannot forget that there are 760,000 young people still out of a job or not in the education and training system.

“We know that vocational and technical education, and specifically apprenticeships, as well as the many other advantages they bring to all learners, can also bridge that gap for young people who fall off the system and acts as a lifeline to bring them back in. We need a properly funded, holistic plan that upskills all of the UK’s potential workforce that challenges schools, colleges, private training providers and awarding bodies to remain inclusive for all learners, especially those with difficult circumstances, and champions young people into a career choice of their own which leads to a job.” Read more

No Sign of Recovery in Apprenticeship Starts
July 13, 2018
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The following article is by Julia Belgutay 

According to the latest provisional data released on 12th July 2018, there were 24,100 starts in April 2018. This down by two-thirds from the provisional figure for April 2017, which stood at more than 70,000. However, this was the month which saw a spike in new starts ahead of the introduction of the levy.

The latest figures show a continuation of the trend of a steepening in the year-on-year decline in apprenticeship starts, compared to the drop of more than half in reported March.

However, given the sharp drop in apprenticeship starts reported in May 2017, the figures for May 2018, due to be published in August, should see more stability return to the statistics.

Quarterly starts Read more

Top 10 Most Advertised Jobs Online in Wales

April 2018: Apprenticeship Statistics
April 23, 2018
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Apprenticeship starts were down 31 percent in January compared with the same period in 2017, the latest provisional government statistics released this morning have revealed.

There were 25,400 starts that month – down 11,300 from January 2017’s provisional total of 36,700, according to the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The latest figures represent a bigger proportionate drop than in December, which saw a 23 percent year-on-year fall in starts.

Earlier this week the chancellor Philip Hammond admitted to parliament that he had expected starts to fall with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy – but not to the extent that they are.

“I recognise that starts are down—we always expected that,” he said.

“There are fewer starts than we expected, but we are seeing a much higher level of apprenticeship,” he continued.

“The Department for Education and the Treasury are looking carefully at how this is working,” he said.

“Our reforms to the apprenticeship system are about increasing the number of quality apprenticeships, so people of all ages and backgrounds can take advantage of the opportunities apprenticeships bring,” a DfE spokesperson said.

“We have recently seen an increase in the number of people starting on higher level apprenticeships, such as engineering and law, and on our new quality apprenticeship standards. These new apprenticeships are designed by employers themselves to meet their needs, and in a range of industries such as fashion, banking and defence.

“The apprenticeship levy is an important part of these changes to raise the quality of apprenticeships in this country, creating long-term, sustainable investment in training and education. Nearly 60 per cent of people starting on the new apprenticeship standards are levy supported, showing that levy payers are working well with the new system.”

Read more

Number in Employment Reaches Record High
January 24, 2018
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Official figures released today (24 January 2018) show that the employment rate is at a joint record high of 75.3%, with a record 32.2 million people in work.

This is a rise of 415,000 compared to last year’s figures. The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, also show that unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975.

The new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, said:

We had a record-breaking 2017 for employment, and I’m delighted to see this trend continue as we enter the new year.

The number of people in work is at an all-time high and the unemployment rate has not been this low for over 40 years.

At this time of year, straight after Christmas, people might be feeling a squeeze on their finances. We’re determined to help people keep more of what they earn.

That’s why we’ve increased the National Living Wage, introduced Universal Credit to offer greater flexibility and taken millions of people out of income tax altogether by raising the tax-free personal allowance.

Read more

Widening Participation in HE Statistics – 2015 to 2016
February 3, 2017
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The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publishes performance indicators (PIs) for higher education in 3 batches each year, on behalf of the 4 UK funding bodies.

This is the first batch of institution-level performance indicators.

Further batches of institution-level indicators will follow in March and July respectively. These refer to:

  • retention of higher education students (students who do not progress to the second year of their courses)
  • employment outcomes of leavers

To view the statistics Click Here

Student Destination Statistics Paper
August 25, 2016
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Destination measures provide clear and comparable information on the success of schools and colleges in helping their students take courses that offer them the best opportunity to continue in education or training or successfully enter employment. These measures are increasingly being seen as a key tool in assessing how well schools and colleges prepare their students to make a successful transition into the next stage of education or training, or employment.

The Department for Education has published what is described as a Statistical Working Paper: which aims to provide Improvements to data on destinations of key stage 5 students, England, 2013/14. The new data comes from the Longitudinal Education Outcomes datasets, which links information in individuals’ education with employment and earning information from different government departments.

To access the full paper Click Here