From education to employment

Fears for those left behind in expanding labour market

The young and long-term unemployed risk being left behind as the labour market shows signs of expanding, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has warned.

Mark Beatson, chief economist at the CIPD, said figures showing the number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell by 29,200 in July provided “modest good news” for the labour market.

However, the number of 16 to 24 year olds who are unemployed has increased by 15,000 over the last three months to 973,000.

According to Beatson, the extent to which further economic growth will be possible without triggering a rise in interest rates hinges on getting young people and the long-term unemployed into work.

Failing that, he warned competition for the right people could inflate wages and costs while unemployment remains high.

“With more than 300,000 school leavers due to collect their exam results tomorrow, it’s crunch time for many young people,” he said.

“Data released today by the Confederation of British Industry and Pearson, highlights that the lack of work experience is a real issue – with 70 per cent of employed young people highlighting that they ‘lacked relevant work experience’. For many, this is making the prospect of finding work an impossible task and highlights the need for employers to engage with this issue.”

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) also expressed fears for A-level students receiving bad news tomorrow.

Speaking ahead of the A-level results, ATL head of education policy Nansi Ellis said: “We hope students get the grades they need tomorrow to enable them to go to university, get a training place or find a good job. But we fear for those who don’t, because their prospects don’t look rosy at a time when nearly a million 16 to 24 year olds are out of work.”

Natalie Thornhill


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