Youth Unemployment: It’s not quite as bad as you think

2012-07-17 04:24 PMComment

Although more than one million young people in the UK are jobless at the moment, the common perception that youth unemployment is currently at an all-time high is false. In actual fact, the highest ever level of youth unemployment in the UK was 28 years ago in 1984, when a whopping 1.2 million young people were out of work…

Highest ever level of youth unemployment?

Relentless focus on gloomy youth unemployment figures by the British media has begun to cast a shadow over young job seekers; creating a culture of apathy and disillusionment. What’s more, this negativity is also beginning to alter the outlook of those who offer advice to young people, i.e. university careers advisers, and those who are actually responsible for hiring the talent: graduate recruiters.


At the recent AGR Conference 2012 in Newport, Wales, ran a survey of graduate recruiters and university careers advisers to find out if their perceptions had been skewed by the negative media attention surrounding the level of youth unemployment in the UK at the moment. The results of the survey confirmed that people’s perceptions were indeed more pessimistic than the reality.


Survey participants were asked to answer the following question: “In which year was the highest ever level of youth unemployment recorded in the UK according to the ONS?” They were then invited to choose from three possible answers: 1984, 1993 and 2011.


A mammoth 44% of participants incorrectly believed that youth unemployment was at an all-time high in 2011, while 19% thought that youth unemployment was at its worst in 1993. In fact, the level of youth unemployment was 1.04 million people in 2011 and 924,000 people in 1993.*


Just 37% of survey participants knew that youth unemployment was at its highest in 1984, when there were 160,000 more young people unemployed in the UK than in 2011.


Jack Collins, Managing Editor of, said: “It’s important for young people to stay positive about their career prospects. There are thousands of fantastic opportunities out there for school leavers, students and graduates. Candidates just need the right advice, the right encouragement and the right information.”


“If you have self-motivation and a genuine belief in your ability to secure a job, you will be far more successful in your applications and interviews. Careers advisers, graduate recruiters and careers information websites like ours need to ignore the scaremongering and help young people discover the wealth of opportunities out there.”




* ‘Characteristics of young unemployed people – 2012’, Office for National Statistics

Image courtesy of Gualtiero, 'Once upon a night in Padua'


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