Study raises youth joblessness fear

One in five young people on the dole are more likely to be out of work in the future, according to a study.

Researchers from Edinburgh Napier University found 20% of people unemployed between the ages of 18 and 24 were without a job after 10 years.

The study team, based at the university’s Employment Research Institute, say their findings reveal the extent of the long-term impact of youth unemployment.

Professor Ronald McQuaid, who led the research, said: “The effects of young people being out of work for long periods mean that they are more likely to be unemployed or to have lower incomes even decades into the future.

“It is important that the various governments, as well as other agencies, work closely together to reduce this scourge and to help young people get into and remain in work, or give them realistic and meaningful work experience alternatives.”

The study focused on 607 people over a decade between 1998 and 2008.

The results found 20% of those unemployed or in low-paid work in 1998 were still in similar situations in 2008, often after periods of being in and out of work. Of those who had a job in 1998, only 11.2% were shown to be unemployed or in low-paid work a decade later.

The length of time a young person spends unemployed was also found to be a significant factor in their future prospects.

A strong link was discovered between the likelihood of being unemployed in 2008 and the number of weeks spent in unemployment five or ten years previously.

Prof McQuaid added: “Our research also suggests confidence plays an important aspect in the success of young people in the labour market. Data showed losing confidence was associated with negative results like less pay, a higher likelihood of unemployment and lower life satisfaction.”