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Concerns about access to permanent employment for young workers

by on December 9, 2014

In the US there is ongoing concern about youth unemployment and, here, the issue of lack of entry-level jobs.  In the UK (as here via Yahoonews) there is some celebration regarding the announcement of the 2 millionth apprenticeship (schemes which particularly though not always exclusively target young workers), Vince Cable is quotes as saying that apprenticeships give “young people the chance to start a career and give businesses the talent to grow”.  (I will for now skim over the conflation of age and talent in that statement!)

The CIPD while joining in the celebration offer some words of warning that apprenticeships continue to be seen as second-rate and highlight the low numbers of application to many apprenticeships: they say “According to CIPD research, 40% of apprenticeships currently receive just five or fewer applications and only 15% of parents say that they have received enough information on apprenticeship schemes”.  There are related issues with the levels of pay on many of these schemes (see also our recent discussion of degree apprenticeships and pay levels).

In a related discussion the TUC have today issued a review of the impact of zero-hours contracts, highlighting that these are preventing younger workers (particularly those under 30) stating that “The increased use of zero-hours contracts and agency workers by employers is preventing young people from obtaining permanent jobs,”.  Their analysis provides some useful information on the breakdown of contract types by age, especially since these include a variety of age groups.  It will be interesting to follow this debate through next week which is the TUC’s ‘Decent Jobs Week’ – “a campaign to raise awareness about the millions of workers in the UK who are trapped in low-paid and insecure jobs”.

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