Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Thorny Problem Of Youth Unemployment…

Jonathan Portes puzzles over the high level of youth unemployment:
Since 1987, the UK labour market has changed hugely – mostly for the better. It is much more dynamic and flexible, yet at the same time the protections for workers (for example, the minimum wage and laws prohibiting unfair discrimination) against exploitation and abuse are stronger. And overall, young people are better educated than at any time in our history.
They are? Really?

You might find that numerous people – many of them potential employers – would look askance at that…
So why is youth unemployment so high? Obviously, the most pressing problem is a lack of jobs, the result of macroeconomic policy failures. But the government is right to point out that youth unemployment was persistently too high even before the recession. So what's gone wrong?
And Jonathan trots out the usual suspects simply to dismiss them, one by one.
First it is worth busting some myths. It is not the immigrants; youth unemployment has risen just as fast, if not faster, in areas where there are few or no migrants.
It might not be the most significant factor, but it can’t be said to be completely off the table, surely? Chris Grayling certainly seems to believe it to be a factor…
It is not the minimum wage; research has repeatedly failed to find any significant negative impacts.
What research is that? He doesn’t mention any. Are we just supposed to trust him?
It is not the benefit system, which for young single people is very far from generous.
And yet many seem to be quite happy to exist on it, perhaps suggesting that they have access to alternative sources of income?
And it is not that universities are churning out unemployable graduates; graduates still do far better than other young people in the labour market.
Aha! Now we’re getting to the nitty-gritty…
Overwhelmingly, it is young people with few or no qualifications who can't find jobs.
Wait. What?

I thought you just said that we had a world-class educational system? How can this be, then?
So what should the government do? As a matter of urgency, it needs to find out why outcomes for young people have deteriorated so rapidly. And at a minimum, it should adopt the commission's recommendation for a part-time job guarantee after a year of looking for work.
A part-time job with….whom?

With local or central government? That’s a cost.

With businesses who sign up to some scheme? What’ll they want in return?
But it's not just about government, employers too have responsibilities: not to reject young people who want to work just because they lack experience or job-specific skills, to provide access to good quality training and to invest in their workforce.
That’s a cost on the business. Will prices rise to offset it? Common sense says they will.
And young people have a responsibility to make good use of the support that is on offer.
Work experience is a good example of how these responsibilities interact: new research by the Department for Work and Pensions (independently reviewed by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research ) shows that it works, increasing the chances of moving off benefit and getting a job. So it's reasonable to expect young people on benefit to try work experience
Are we talking here about unpaid work experience? Because a few of your fellow CiFers might take issue with that!
More broadly, we need, collectively, to reject the logic that says it's economically sensible to keep unemployment unnecessarily high for unnecessarily long.
Who says that it’s sensible?

12 comments:

Tom said...

Be fair, he does mention the real problem;

"...protections for workers (for example, the minimum wage..."

If you want more of an activity, don't load costs onto it.

Anonymous said...

It is not the immigrants; youth unemployment has risen just as fast, if not faster, in areas where there are few or no migrants.

I would place a hefty bet that immigrants go to where they are likely to find work.

There will be a lot more immigrants in Slough than Merthyr Tydfil, but there will be considerably more jobs in Slough, and more jobs taken by immigrants.

The net effect is is the same lack of jobs for the local yoof.

Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

Schools churn out unemployable kids.

No work ethic.

Don't speak usable English. "You know what I mean?", "like".

Don't speak with an understandable accent.

Captain Haddock said...

I love this idiot's comments in the article, for example ..

"The latest unemployment figures, due on Wednesday, will once again highlight the unacceptable levels of youth unemployment. The last time it was this high was a quarter of a century ago, just as I was starting my first "proper" job (working on welfare policy at the Treasury) ..

That alone could well explain the mess we're in ..

He digs his hole a little deeper with ..

"It is not the benefit system, which for young single people is very far from generous" ...

Yet, whenever I drive past the local
Job Centre (the one which incidentally refused me any help, or Job Seeker's Allowance, despite the fact that I was willing to work & wanted to work .. simply because I'm in receipt of a Service pension) .. there's always a crowd of youths outside .. all of them smoking, all holding or using mobile phones and most wearing designer trainers ..

I read a lovely comment on the net t'other day which said .. "I wonder how many moons circle the planet he lives on ? " ..

Sort of sums it up really ...

Fidel Cuntstruck said...

@DoB Don't speak usable English. "You know what I mean?"

I think you're being rather charitable there .. for this is the era of the glottal stop, so it usually comes across as "na'ameen" ;0)

Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

@Fidel

Know what you mean:) Trouble is if I wrote it as it sounded you wouldn't have known what I meant.

Sabrewulfe said...

`
I thought you just said that we had a world-class educational system? How can this be, then?
`

You can lead a horse to water.....

`employers too have responsibilities: not to reject young people who want to work just because they lack experience or job-specific skills

Umm...So, employers shouldn`t reject people who can`t do the job....There`s a flaw in that idea...can`t quite put my finger on it...

Anonymous said...

I just ran through the local rags sits-vac.
LOADS of jobs there.....radiographer at the hospital...plenty of education assistants....many jobs in local gov....very, very few in industry (the type that makes and sells things) .... a few in telephone sales (commission only)...a few in security (doormen)...one in vehicle clamping (security experience preferred)(used to getting threatened and sworn at they mean).
Industry doesn't want to train people, they want experience.
It's not the minimum wage (even employers say that)
It's not low wage/s. It's no experience and no training. Which is something you get by....working !
Catch.
22.

Hexe Froschbein said...

Best take on this story I've seen(and I don't remember where) was to compare this concept of 'employers doing their patriotic duty by employing a hoodie' with forcing women to hook up with random beta males, since they too deserve some love...

As a side note along those lines, the US had a law in the GD era where people were forbidden to pick the chicken they want to buy, but were forced to blindly grope for a random hen from a box. Why? So the farmer didn't end up getting less $$ for a scrawny bird.

This planet doesn't need a deity, it needs a shrink...

allcoppedout said...

My secretary has a degree in English Literature and is a likable type, if useless in her role because of English problems. She's typical of over half our graduates on whom higher education and I suspect all education from 16 is wasted. Amongst the bull AP demolishes we find such as engineering forms unable to get engineering technicians and graduates and hence talk of more training. The position hasn't changed since 1910 when the ratio of engineers in training in the UK and Germany was 1:16.
We should call time on education at 14 for most and provide day release from jobs.

Anonymous said...

This is a true account of what happened at my wife's bussines recently. " youths turn up, both on bikes the smaller one hold the bikes right across the doorway. He is spitting on the pavement and doorstep. The bigger one comes in and says, do you have any jobs, yes says my wife I have a job in the kitchen. 40 hrs a weeks + I don't want to work in the kitchen , have you any bar jobs. No sorry, well I am Fuc%ing 18 I want a F888888 bar job. everyone now agahst. The only job I have is in the kitchen, well you can FFFF of I dont want that job. He leaves the premises and say silly ffffff c888 has no jobs. Now pray tell why would she want to employ any youths.

JuliaM said...

"I would place a hefty bet that immigrants go to where they are likely to find work. "

Spot on!

"Umm...So, employers shouldn`t reject people who can`t do the job....There`s a flaw in that idea.."

Who was it who said 'You'd have to be an academic to come up with a concept that stupid'...?

"We should call time on education at 14 for most and provide day release from jobs."

Ah, but with the example from anon at 9:48...

"Now pray tell why would she want to employ any youths."

Indeed!