Research by the Resolution Foundation has found that youth unemployment could be at one of the worst levels by the close of the year. 

Youth unemployment is set to reach one of the highest levels seen in the UK if it follows projections made by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the think tank has warned.

Figures obtained has predicted that this could lead to around 850,000 young people to be out of work by October.

Prior research from Resolution Foundation already found that, in terms of long-term unemployment and furlough, 18-24 year olds were twice as likely to have faced an impact during the current lockdown.

This is due to the lockdown restrictions hitting certain sectors such as hospitality, leisure and retail hardest which hire a large proportion of young workers.

Furthermore, the think tank has predicted that long-term youth unemployment is likely to peak during the middle of 2021. It has predicted this figure will fall between the range of 244,000 and 378,000.

It has further stated that, following this peak, these numbers would fall only slowly  and might not return their pre-crisis levels until at least the start of 2024.

Within this report, the research also highlights that not all young people will be impacted by long-term unemployment equally. It found that young people with lower-level qualifications are not only more likely to be
unemployed in the first place but once unemployed, are three times as likely to remain unemployed for six months or longer than their higher-qualified counterparts.

Kathleen Henehan, Senior Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, reflected on this:

While the scale of the problem is worrying, with overall youth unemployment looking set to peak later this year, it’s worth remembering that, long-term, some young people are likely to be much worse off than others – with those with lower-level qualifications especially at risk.

To aid younger workers, the Resolution Foundation called on the Kickstart Scheme to be extended beyond December 2021 and stated that those on full-furlough should be be eligible for this scheme. It was also recommended that traineeship and apprenticeship numbers should be expanded.

The think tank also stated that the Government should emphasise the link between the youth employment and education policies that exist across the DWP and the Department for Education (DfE) so that work coaches and young people are able to clearly navigate and access them, in line with the Prime Minister’s promise for an “opportunity guarantee” for young people.

*This research was obtained from Resolution Foundation’s ‘Long Covid in the Labour Market’ report which was published in February 2021.

Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.