Getting Back to Work – how we get the UK back to work in a world post Covid-19

The Institute of Employment Studies has launched the Getting Back to Work report which focuses on the economic impact of COVID-19. It will take more than 7 years to bring NEET numbers down to the levels we were starting to see pre-COVID.

The IES has calculated the impact of the Coronavirus on employment in the UK, stating that unemployment is likely to have risen to 2.5 million, or from 3.9% to around 7.5% of the workforce in March alone. As sectors have been decimated and there is no clear end to lockdown insight it is more than likely that this number will steadily rise in the coming weeks and months.

We know that it is young people, the lowest paid and women that will suffer the economic impacts the hardest. In the last recession we saw youth unemployment rise to 1 million NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training) and it has taken more than 7 years to bring this number down to the levels we were starting to see pre-COVID.

Even with record high employment rates across all ages, young people were three times more likely to be unemployed and faced other issues and instabilities such as low-pay jobs, precarious work and zero hours contracts.

Youth unemployment has significant issues for both the economy and for the young people who experience it. The long-term scarring effects of unemployment can include reduced lifelong earning potential and mental health challenges.

“It is imperative that government deal with the challenges to come head on, in fact they can begin to anticipate what those challenges are and use the data and experience that we have of what works to take up a proactive position and stem the tide of mass youth unemployment”

The IES make some strong recommendations on what government can do now to address these challenges and we fully support their findings.

We have been working on our own set of recommendations which add to our Manifesto for Youth Employment launched at the end of last year.

We would add that there could not be a greater call on our work at this time, from understanding the very real needs and challenges facing young people through our youth voice work, but also having some sense of the policy implications.

There is also now an urgent need for us to send a rallying call to businesses to embrace the idea of becoming Youth Friendly. To ensure that young people are given the right support in a business and the community it operates in, to provide them with the best chance of employment success, as once again their futures become uncertain in a world they didn’t create.

Through the Youth Friendly Employer Mark we are providing practical support to businesses to help them to –

  • Stay connected with young talented people
  • Ensure their brand is seen as an employer of choice when the time is right to recruit
  • Reassess recruitment practices and youth employment strategies in light of Covid-19 and what the means practically for online activity, safeguarding, recruitment, work experience and much more

With over 100,000 young people using our free skills and careers resources we aim to provide them with the best advice in skills, careers, mental health and well-being so that they can feel more confident in their futures.

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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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