Youth Unemployment in Britain

Youth Unemployment in Britain

Respondents blame the high rate of youth unemployment (1.02 million) on immigration, businesses not hiring and a lack of entry points for young workers.

Respondents lack confidence in any political party to solve the problem and believe that the government’s Youth Contract, announced last week, will help but not help enough as youth unemployment will only increase in the next 6 months.

Key causes

47% of respondents blame immigration for the current rate of youth unemployment, but while 55% of over 55 year olds chose this, only 32% of 18-34 year olds agreed with them.

When asked to choose all the factors they thought were responsible for the current rate of youth unemployment, the most popular choices were:

  • Immigration (47%)
  • Businesses cutting recruitment (44%)
  • Lack of entry-points into work for young people (44%)
  • Businesses outsourcing / moving jobs to other countries (42%)
  • Banks not lending to businesses (37%)
  • Current (coalition) government policy (33%)
  • Previous (Labour) government policy (31%)
  • The Eurozone debt crisis (31%)
  • Attitude of graduates / school leavers (31%)
  • Schools not equipping school leavers with employable skills (30%)
  • The older generation not retiring and taking up space (20%)
  • Universities not equipping graduates with employable skills (19%)

When asked to choose which factor was the MOST responsible, immigration still topped the table with 18% but the policies of the current and previous governments were much higher with 17% citing the coalition government and 13% citing the previous Labour government.

Reducing youth unemployment

While respondents narrowly think Labour are better able to deal with youth unemployment than the Conservatives (25% to 23%), the strong showing for “None of these” (42%) shows a general lack of confidence in the political system to solve the problem.

The coalition government’s “Youth Contract”

Respondents had mixed feelings about the government’s Youth Contract plan announced last week.

While 42% think it will reduce youth unemployment, 43% think the money could be better spent on other schemes to achieve the same goal

Only 35% think the money could be better spent on other priorities (25% disagreed, 40% don’t know) while 44% think the government should instead try to reduce public sector spending cuts

The most depressing figure is that 63% of respondents agree with the statement that “Youth unemployment is likely to increase in the next 6 months” which is the closest to consensus that the survey managed to produce. Only 4% disagreed

What do you think are the causes of these rising youth unemployment figures and what should the government be doing to reduce it? Comment on this story with other Opinium panellists by clicking here

Interview Method and Sample

This survey is conducted online by CAWI (computer aided web interviewing), using Opinium’s online research panel of circa 25,000 individuals. This research is run from a representative sample of UK adults (aged 18+ in England, Scotland and Wales). The sample is scientifically defined from pre-collected registration data containing gender, age (18-34, 35-54, and 55+), region (North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humberside, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), working status and social grade to match the latest published ONS figures.

Opinium also takes into account differential response rates from the different demographic groups, to ensure the sample is representative.