Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Collapse in holiday work hitting young people’s chances in job market - IPPR

New analysis shows young people want to work and get the skills they need – but government, business, schools and universities need to do more to give them that chance

New analysis from IPPR published today (Tuesday) shows that falls in the number of young people able to get jobs in the summer holidays and while studying in term time is making it harder for them to get a foot on the jobs ladder. It shows that:

  • Young people want to work but can’t get the opportunities – over 200,000 are in education and also looking for a job;
  • The number of 16-17 year olds in full time education working in the summer has almost halved compared to 20 years ago, and the number of 18-24 year olds has fallen by a fifth;
  • In the late 1990s over 40 per cent of 16-17 year olds did some work while studying, for example in Saturday jobs, but now just over 20 per cent do. For 18-24 year olds there has been a decline of seven percentage points in just ten years;
  • Without work experience, it is hard to demonstrate the ‘soft skills’ employers are looking for. Immediately after the recession in 2009, 23 per cent of young people with no experience of work were unemployed, compared to 14 per cent with that experience;
  • Combining earning and learning can be a useful way for young people to gain skills for the world of work and help make the transition from education into work – but there are not enough opportunities available.

Carys Roberts, Research Fellow at IPPR, said:

“With the aftershock of the Brexit vote looming large on the UK economy, young people will need all the help they can get to get on the employment ladder.

“Our analysis shows that young people want to work both in the summer and alongside studying, but often can’t.

“Government, business, schools and universities need to work together to create opportunities for young people.

“This should including high quality work experience at school, apprenticeships with qualifications attached and university-brokered paid internships for their students.”

Hang Ho, Head of Philanthropy for Europe, Middle-East and Africa at J.P. Morgan said:

“Summer jobs provide young people with a unique opportunity to develop valuable skills and lay the foundation for better future employment opportunities.

“This problem is not confined to the UK. A recent JPMorgan Chase report analysing summer youth employment opportunities in the United States found that summer employment for teenagers has fallen to 34 per cent over the past 20 years, which is a 37 per cent decline, a near record-low, and it’s hitting low-income communities the hardest.

“Supporting youth to find and secure the best employment opportunities is clearly a global need.”

JPMorgan Chase has supported today’s report as part of its New Skills at Work programme, which aims to identify strategies and support data-driven solutions that help improve labour market infrastructure and develop the skilled workforce globally.