News - 19th May, 2020

Young people are entering the worst labour market since 1929

A little over half of the 700,000 young people who finish school each year will do something other than go on to higher education. 180,000 will go into work, around 60,000 will become apprentices, and a large proportion won’t be captured by educational statistics[1].

This group of 360,000 young people who do not attend university is skewed towards families from lower-income brackets, who have grown up facing disadvantage[2] and significant challenges when compared to their better-off peers[3].

Now, they face the additional struggle of entering the worst labour market since 1929, in circumstances of unparalleled challenge, with their formal education and the support that comes with it suddenly suspended.

Sectors most likely to offer entry-level employment to young people (such a hospitality and retail) are in a state of shut down[4]. Competition for remaining roles will be fierce, a particular challenge for school leavers who have missed out on the careers advice often covered in their final term.

It’s been suggested that for lower-skilled young adults, the chances of finding a job in the wake of the pandemic are reduced by a third[5].

And the long-term effects of this challenge are bleak.  A wealth of evidence shows that unemployment at this early stage on the career ladder has long-term ‘scarring’ implications for career and pay prospects; young people are likely to go on to earn less, have worse health, and are more likely to be unemployed in the future[6]. For this group of 360,000, the long-term effects are even more acute; they are likely to suffer longer spells of unemployment and slower pay rises than their peers who have a degree[7].

It makes for a bleak picture. Recent headlines speak of the ‘corona class of 2020’ facing ‘job despair’. There seems no doubt that the economic fallout from COVID19 will be particularly brutal for the young people we serve at Resurgo. Against this austere backdrop, we anticipate that The Spear Programme will be required more than ever, and we remain absolutely committed to making sure our young people get the support they so need and deserve.



[2] (see page 12)


[4] The Institute of Fiscal Studies