Businesses react to record low level of youth unemployment

Youth unemployment is at record low levels as employers struggle to keep talented staff.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 239,000 16 to 24-year-olds were not in education, employment or training (NEET) between April and June 2022.

This has been driven by a strong labour market and an increase in education rates, and represents a fall of 41,000 from the same time period the year before, and the lowest figure since the ONS started recording such data.

In addition, increasing numbers of young people opting for education have impacted the levels of unemployment.

Gap grows between young men and women

The survey showed a disparity between young men and women with 167,000 shown as more likely to be unemployed and NEET. This is compared with 71,000 for women.

A survey earlier in the year had shown that 49 per cent of workers aged 18-34 were planning to quit their jobs in the next 12 months due to pandemic working conditions.

According to that report commissioned by HR software developer Personio, a lack of progression could be to blame for the impending exodus.

Communication critical

It showed that almost two-thirds (59 per cent) felt that they had missed out on promotions, while 66 per cent felt that the pandemic had held them back in their career.

Regular performance and development discussions play a particularly critical role, not only in understanding the priorities of employees, but also in developing and engaging younger talent.

Key ways to retain younger workers could include:

  • Paying above-average where possible
  • Regular communication and respecting employee views
  • Discouraging favouritism
  • Providing a career path through training and education
  • Offering flexible working
  • Investing in top performers.

The figures from the ONS also showed the number of young people who were NEET and economically inactive increased to 473,000 between April and June, 108,000 more than the previous year.

However, the number of economically active 16-17-year-olds fell from 38,000 to 26,000 for the quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded by the ONS.

For help and advice on matters relating to employment law, contact Joanna Alexiou on or at 0207 240 0521

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Joanna Alexiou

Joanna Alexiou

Associate Solicitor at Mackrell.Solicitors
Joanna joined the firm’s Employment Law team in February 2020 having previously worked at another prominent firm of solicitors in the heart of London. Joanna has worked with clients from the finance, technology, arts and culture, marketing, charity and food and drink sectors.