UK youth unemployment third worst in OECD – what are the lessons to be learnt?


The UK has the third worst level of youth unemployment in the OECD, with only crisis-hit Greece and Spain having higher levels, a new report out today reveals.

The Work Foundation’sInternational Lessons: Youth unemployment in the global context”(pdf) also shows the UK has experienced the fastest rise in youth unemployment of any country in the G8 since the start of the recession, with a current comparable figure far higher than the EU and OECD averages, and going in the wrong direction.

Figure 4 shows how poorly the UK fares against the 33 other OECD nations:

Youth-unemployment-OECD-countries-2001-2011
On the international context, the report notes:

Youth unemployment in the UK is high. While the UK is not the worst performer of all comparative nations, youth unemployment in the UK is higher than the EU and the OECD averages, and is far worse than the best performing countries.

The UK can learn from countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland whose youth labour markets are far healthier, and where young people have not been so severely affected by the recession.

Youth unemployment in the UK has been rising faster than in most other countries. As a proportion of the population aged 15-24 years the share of young people unemployed increased at a faster rate over the course of the recession than the European and OECD averages.

Between 2007-2011 youth unemployment in the UK increased from 9 per cent to 12 per cent. This 3 percentage point rise was above the EU and OECD averages (both 2 percentage points) but considerably better than countries such as Spain, Ireland and Greece which saw 11, 7 and 6 percentage points increases respectively.

On the role of the education system – in particular the consequences of having fewer young people going to university, and of said young people not at university being under-skilled – the report adds:

The education system can impact upon the youth labour market in a number of ways: it impacts on the skills of the workforce; it affects the way education institutions ease the transition into, and interact with, the world of work; and it affects the age at which young people enter the labour market.

At its most basic level differences in compulsory schooling ages alongside further and higher education participation rates between countries can impact on youth unemployment rates.

Simply put, the more young people that are in education, the fewer that are in the labour market competing for jobs. Furthermore, young people staying in education longer are older when they enter the labour market, are better qualified, and are therefore better able to compete against older workers for jobs.

The report points out…

• Youth unemployment in Germany has been falling since 2005 and continued to fall during the recession;

• The Netherlands has managed to maintain a stable and low level of youth unemployment for the last decade;

• Although Denmark experienced a relatively rapid rise in youth unemployment over the recession it still has one of the lowest levels of long-term youth unemployment in the whole of Europe; and

Australia has experienced a decade of low youth unemployment rates.

…and in conclusion, recommends the following lessons are learnt from each of those countries:

Germany – The dual apprenticeship model:

• Policy measures to maximise engagement of large corporates;

• Increase employer engagement in design and delivery of apprenticeship frameworks and training;

• Introduce pre-apprenticeship training;

• Review the current balance between academic content and on the job training.

Denmark – Active labour market policies:

• Implement early activation policies to avoid scarring effects of long term unemployment;

• Balance between sanctions and activation policies;

• Growth in opportunities for private sector on the job training;

• More local autonomy and better co-ordination.

Netherlands – Non-standard employment opportunities:

• A guaranteed part-time job for six months for all unemployed young people combined with intensive support from providers.

Australia – Work experience and ‘Work for your Dole’:

• Improve and reintroduce Key Stage 4 work experience programme;

• Ensure all employers offering work experience adhere to the CIPD guidance forwork experience placements;

• Better integration between school and the labour market.

Last week’s labour market figures were good – though Friday’s poor GDP stats and today’s report on youth unemployment show plenty still needs to be done.

See also:

Labour market stats bring no good news for young people. AgainJuly 18th, 2012

The government is stalling youth employment by downsizing career adviceJuly 5th, 2012

Youth unemployment: How Cameron and Clegg are letting the next generation downDecember 14th, 2011

Million young unemployed figure highlights enormity of the situation hitting our youthNovember 16th, 2011

Osborne’s refusal to increase demand leaves young unemployed without hopeNovember 14th, 2011

This entry was posted in Sustainable Economy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • LB

    And migration, the cause you won’t mention.

  • Newsbot9

    The cause of your moral panic, and the easy blame to allow you to avoid the topic? No, you’ll bring it up time and again to avoid doing anything. No, you have to drive youth unemployment higher!