Youth unemployment in the capital has soared 55% to 105,000 since the start of the pandemic with more than 21% of young people unemployed and looking for work, a joint survey by The independent and the Standard Evening reveals today.
This figure is five times higher than the national unemployment rate for all ages of 4.3% and is even higher among young women, with nearly one in four women aged 16 to 24 in London unemployed, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.
The situation in the capital is by far the worst in the country, with the West Midlands being the second most affected region with 15% and Scotland the least affected with 9%. Most worrying is that 42 percent of unemployed youth across the country have been out of work for six months or more, with crushing consequences, experts said, for their hopes and self-esteem.
These statistics reveal the failure of the government’s £ 2bn Kickstart program, launched in September 2020 to fund employers to ensure that those under 25 have universal employment credit, but failed to help. fill only 96,700 of the 250,000 targeted positions. The program was hampered by poor design that initially discouraged small and medium-sized businesses from participating. The late changes failed to generate sufficient adoption, resulting in a success rate of less than 40 percent, with the program being criticized by a multi-party Lords committee and the National Audit Office.
The surge in youth unemployment comes despite an increase in job vacancies last month to a record 1.2 million nationwide.
In a five-day survey of the scale of youth unemployment and its cost to individuals and society, we begin by focusing on two young people who worked before the pandemic but have been unemployed since. We also speak to experts who reflect on the cost to society and individuals of the mismatch between the skills and experience provided by young people and those demanded by employers.
The Department for Work and Pensions said it had ‘acted quickly and decisively to support young people affected by the pandemic, opening specialized youth centers here in London, expanding our offer to young people aged 16 and 17 years and supporting more than 21,000 young people in Kickstart jobs in the capital.
“We are committed to helping young people get their foot on the ladder,” added a spokesperson.