Young facing greatest impact from unemployment crisis due to virus, report says

Man finding jobs.

YOUNG people will increasingly bear the brunt of the unemployment crisis after suffering most from the impact of the pandemic, a new report warns.

The Prince's Trust and the Learning and Work Institute said that while some areas of the economy might start to recover, young workers are under-represented in these sectors, and the industries that typically employ them will be hardest hit in the long term.

Under-25s have accounted for three in five jobs lost during the coronavirus outbreak, and youth unemployment is set to increase further as the economy recovers, said the report.

Longer term structural changes in the labour market are likely to reduce job opportunities for young people without support to improve their skills, it was warned.

It was estimated that the economic cost of higher youth unemployment in terms of lost national output is forecast to be £5.9 billion this year, rising to £6.9 billion in 2022.

The report finds disparities in the impact of the crisis on different groups of young people, raising concerns that the pandemic has, and will continue to, exacerbate pre-existing inequalities.

Demand for workers with lower-level qualifications is projected to fall in the short, medium and long term, raising concerns that the employment prospects of young people who lack higher level qualifications will be badly affected, said the report.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute, said: "Young people have been at the forefront of the coronavirus jobs crisis. While we are hopefully slowly emerging from the worst of the pandemic, the legacy will be with us for years to come in the form of higher youth unemployment.

"This is not just bad for young people. It will have a huge hit on our economy and our public finances, and it risks a long-lasting scarring impact on those affected.

"If we are to tackle the looming youth jobs crisis, the government must work with partners to urgently roll out a Youth Guarantee to support young people to access a job, an apprenticeship, education, or a high-quality training opportunity."

Jonathan Townsend, UK chief executive of the Prince's Trust, said: "This report is a stark warning of how the current economic crisis will have a scarring effect on young people, their earnings and prospects.

"We also know from 45 years' experience of working with young people that youth joblessness can impact self-esteem and mental health for years to come, if we fail to act.

"Government, employers and charities must work together to ensure that the young people who need the most support are not forgotten.

"They need the opportunities to upskill, retrain and access job opportunities, or we risk harming not only our young people's futures but the recovery of our economy."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access