This research project will address the UK's need for robust evidence on the pandemic's consequences for youth employment, learning and wellbeing.
The project will address social inequalities in the pandemic’s impact, and assess varying prospects for recovery among places, socio-economic groups and jobs.
It will also examine potential mechanisms to avoid long-term 'scarring' effects for careers and lifetime earnings.
This research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), grant number ES/V01577X/1. The project will run for 18 months from 5 November 2020 until 5 October 2022.
Young people's employment prospects are hit hard by the pandemic's unfolding economic consequences. Workers aged 16-24 were more than twice as likely to work in 'lockdown' industries, and about three times more likely to be in potentially precarious employment than workers above 25.
Exiting research shows that up to a third of 18-24-year-olds have already lost their job or have been furloughed. Workers under 30 have also seen their hours cut harder and express higher job insecurity than prime-aged workers.
Prolonged and repeated unemployment and situations of not in education, employment, or training (NEET) can 'scar' youth's future career prospects and earnings. But education, work-related skills training, future planning and active employment support can help to insulate against scaring effects.
This research will illuminate what works to help young people to maintain employment, get back to work, and develop productive skills.
Our primary objectives are:
- to develop robust and timely intelligence on youth economic activity, psychosocial wellbeing, skills development and career outlooks
- to provide new evidence on potential pathways to mitigate the long-term scarring effects from the pandemic on youth’s careers and lifetime earnings through skill development and career readiness
- to influence public debate through regular publications activities across a range of communications platform to attract media interest
- to develop impact with stakeholders and policymakers to inform and influence policy and practice.
Using existing and new data, we will:
- examine successful transitions from school into jobs and post-18 education
- investigate the relationship of future optimism and career planning with youth wellbeing
- analyse the consequences of the pandemic on internship provision and training
- track local employment support provision and careers education initiatives.
To contextualise British trends and to explore the potential for policy programmes, we will compare changes in youths' job market transitions and career planning in the UK, with detailed findings for Germany and broader trends in Canada and Ireland.
To address our research questions, we will commission a survey of young adults in Britain, conduct interviews with local labour market stakeholders and young people, and analyse a range of secondary quantitative data sources.
- Golo Henseke, IOE
- Hans Dietrich, IAB Institute for Employment Research
- Andy Green, IOE
- Francis Green, IOE
- Ingrid Schoon, IOE
- Rachel Wilde, IOE
- Rubab Arim, Statistics Canada
- Aisling Murray, Economic and Social Research Institute
- Emer Smyth, ESRI Economic and Social Research
- Evidence and analyses
- Youth unemployment in Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom in times of COVID-19. Economic and Social Reports, Vol. 2, no. 3. 24 March 2022
- Social Inequalities in Young People's Mental Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Do Psychosocial Resource Factors Matter? Frontiers in Public Health. 14 March 2022
- The social gradient in COVID-19 vaccination intentions and the role of solidarity beliefs among adolescents. SSM - Population Health. 24 February 2022.
- Transition milestones and life satisfaction at ages 25/26 among cohorts born in 1970 and 1989–90. Advances in Life Course Research. 13 January 2022
- The Covid-19 pandemic: Inequalities and the life course. The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Inequalities and the Life Course. 31 December 2021.
- How has the pandemic affected young people’s job skills?. IOE Blog. 16 December 2021.
- Mental distress among young adults in Great Britain: long-term trends and early changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 11 November 2021
- The COVID-19 Pandemic, Well-Being, and Transitions to Post-secondary Education. IZA Discussion Paper. October 2021.
- Time trend analysis of social inequalities in psychological distress among young adults before and during the pandemic: evidence from the UK Household Longitudinal Study COVID-19 waves. J Epidemiol Community Health. 29 Oct 2021
- The shape and consequences of teenage career concentration: Analysing an English cohort born in 1989/90? (PDF) OECD Conference “Disrupted Futures”. 28 Oct 2021
- Youth unemployment in Germany and the United Kingdom in times of Covid-19. IAB-Forum. 4 Aug 2021
- Covid-19: how youth unemployment is taking on worrying new patterns. IOE Blog. 5 Aug 2021
- Career Ready? UK Youth during the Covid-19 Crisis (PDF, 0.5MB). YEAH Briefing Paper #2. 22 July 2021
- Ready for work? UK youth ambitious but uncertain about their future careers. IOE Blog. 22 July 2021
- COVID-19 and youth employment. United Nations Academic Impact Digital Dialogue Series. 15 July 2021
- Covid-19 and young people: we need to talk about job skills. IOE Blog. 15 July 2021
- Young people’s economic activity, training and wellbeing during the Covid crisis. LLAKES-IAB Seminar. 14 July 2021
- How can we ‘build back better’ for Britain’s young people? Policy Postings: UCL Public Policy Blog. 21 May 2021
- The interplay of structure and agency in the school-to-work transition. Structure and Agency in Young People’s Lives. 13 May 2021
- The Darkest Hour? New Evidence of the Learning Experience, Well-being, and expectations of youth during the third national lockdown (PDF, 0.8MB). YEAH Briefing Paper #1. 1 April 2021
- Tracking Youth Employment Support Initiatives during COVID. LLAKES Blog. 31 March 2021
- Towards an Integrative Taxonomy of Social-Emotional Competences, Frontiers in Psychology, 11 Mar 2021
- Young people’s perceptions of the short, medium, long-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis (YouTube video), Emerging Minds, 3 Mar 2021
- How to support young people against the risk of becoming NEET?, Rural NEET Youth Observatory, 27 Jan 2021
- Will Covid-19 vaccines be enough to get the economy back on track, curb youth unemployment, and mitigate mental health effects?, IOE blog, 12 Jan 2021
- CGY Conversations with... Dr Golo Henseke, UCL Centre for Global Youth, 17 Dec 2020
- How to support young people in their school-to-work transitions in times of global crisis, Understanding Inequalities, 10 Dec 2020.