MapAid is mapping youth unemployment and vocational education and apprenticeships or “easy access education,” on the basis that what you can see and measure, is what you can do something about.
Put another way, if youth unemployment problems are out of sight, then stakeholders such as you, policymakers, and unemployed people, are unable to focus their common efforts. Taxpayers’ resources and time are therefore collectively misspent.
The overall rate of unemployment in the UK in 2022 was 3.9% (a) however youth unemployment was 11.5% (b) or 2.9 times higher.
However, the UK government only reports those people who are unemployed, as those who actually sign up, or get registered at their Job Centre, and they also count anyone on a zero-hours contract as “employed” even if the work is very thin on the ground, and they are seriously under-employed.
Therefore unfortunately there is a “hidden unemployed youth” cohort in addition to the registered cohort, that may have constituted as much as 60% of the unemployed youth, before the Covid-19 outbreak (c) and will possibly account for a higher percentage today.
These hidden unemployed youth, who are often qualified, may not be signing up with the government, due to a sense of pride. Therefore computing the absolute numbers of unemployed youth (signed up and hidden) is tricky, but according to the government there were an estimated 763,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in October to December 2019 (d). On this basis, it is likely that over 1.1 million youth are now unemployed, without accounting for recent Covid-19 job losses.
The Mental Health Foundation has reported that 14.7% of people in stable jobs experience mental health problems from time to time (e).
However, a BBC report on a survey of the economic activity and health of 25 year-olds found that a person was x 2.36 more likely to experience mental health problems when unemployed, even when all background factors – including gender, ethnicity, social class, and prior mental health had been accounted for (f). This would represent a rate of 34.7% mental health problems among unemployed youth, with potentially devastating long terms effects on long term employability. Further, those participants on zero-hours contracts are reported as 50% more likely to experience poor mental health and 41% less likely to report good general health (f).
As a result of Covid-19, according to a May 2020 Resolution Foundation survey, younger and older workers have experienced the brunt of the hit to jobs and pay, with the very youngest in the most challenging position. One-third of 18 to 24-year-old employees (excluding students) have lost jobs or been furloughed, compared to one-in-six prime-age adults, with these experiences also more common among employees in atypical jobs (g).
One great example is making maps that show where gainful employment can be encouraged, so that local people are enabled to sustain their families. So we could map UK poverty hotspots and unemployment, as well as vital livelihood capabilities including access to easy join-education and apprenticeship.