A fall in the number of holiday and term-time jobs is making it more difficult for young people to get a foot on the jobs ladder, according to research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The IPPR found that young people want to work, but are struggling due to a lack of opportunities – over 200,000 are in education and also looking for a job.
It said that over the past 20 years the number of 16- and 17-year-olds working during the summer has almost halved, and the number of 18- to 24-year-olds doing so has fallen by a fifth. In the late 1990s over 40% of 16- and 17-year-olds did some work while studying, for example in Saturday jobs, but now just over 20% do so. For 18-24 year olds there has been a decline of seven per cent in just ten years.
The IPPR said that without work experience obtained through summer and part-time jobs, young people find it difficult to demonstrate the soft skills employers are looking for, and pointed out that combining earning and learning can be a useful way for young people to gain skills for the world of work and help make the transition from education into work – but there are not enough opportunities available.
Carys Roberts, research fellow at the IPPR, said: “With the aftershock of the Brexit vote looming large on the UK economy, young people will need all the help they can get to get on the employment ladder.
“Our analysis shows that young people want to work both in the summer and alongside studying, but often can’t. Government, business, schools and universities need to work together to create opportunities for young people.
“This should including high quality work experience at school, apprenticeships with qualifications attached and university-brokered paid internships for their students.”
The IPPR report was supported by JPMorgan Chase as part of its New Skills at Work programme, which aims to identify strategies and support data-driven solutions that help improve labour market infrastructure and develop the skilled workforce globally.
Hang Ho, head of philanthropy for Europe, Middle-East and Africa at J.P. Morgan, said: “Summer jobs provide young people with a unique opportunity to develop valuable skills and lay the foundation for better future employment opportunities.
“This problem is not confined to the UK. A recent JPMorgan Chase report analysing summer youth employment opportunities in the United States found that summer employment for teenagers has fallen to 34 per cent over the past 20 years, which is a 37 per cent decline, a near record-low, and it’s hitting low-income communities the hardest.
“Supporting youth to find and secure the best employment opportunities is clearly a global need.”