Press release

Fall in youth unemployment welcome but more must be done, UKCES claims

UK Commission for Employment and Skills welcomes new findings on youth unemployment, but claims much work is still to be done to tackle the problem.


The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has today welcomed new publications from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), highlighting the barriers which continue to prevent young people from finding ways into work.

The IPPR report suggests that even a full-blown economic recovery is unlikely to solve the problem of youth unemployment in the UK, reflecting recent research from UKCES showing just under half a million young people still need to find work for youth unemployment rates to return to pre-recession levels.

The report, Precarious Futures: youth employment in an international context, also shows youth unemployment in the UK has been more than three times higher than adult unemployment rates for over a decade - a ratio higher than almost all other European countries - suggesting that despite youth unemployment falling in recent months, there are still structural and deep-rooted barriers in the labour market for young people.

Findings by UKCES show that work experience is vital to employers when recruiting 16 to 24-year-olds, with 74% of employers saying it is a key factor when recruiting young people. This research is reflected in findings from the CBI, published today, which highlights the importance of providing work experience to young people - claiming that the employment prospects of young people are about more than just classroom learning.

Further work by UKCES aims to show the value of strong links between employers and education providers in ensuring those leaving education at all levels are given the vocational skills they need to gain access to the workplace. An upcoming publication from UKCES, due for release next month and created jointly by UKCES and Universities UK, aims to highlight the value collaboration can bring to employers, students and universities – encouraging work-based learning to become the cultural norm.

Michael Davis, Chief Executive of UKCES said:

The importance of giving young people opportunities to gain experience cannot be overstated. Young people of all ages and at all stages of their education can benefit from experience of the workplace. For some it will open their eyes to jobs and careers they had never even thought about. For others it instils the attitudes and behaviours that employers will expect of them later on.

For all young people, experience is invaluable because it is what employers value the most. We welcome the CBI and IPPR recommendations that more businesses engage with local schools, colleges and universities – this is the best way for them to ensure they end up with an inspired and well prepared young workforce.

Further information:

Published 13 August 2014