Young unemployed face ‘desperate labour market’

Education and nationality are key factors in young people finding a job, according to research, with young men also now more likely than young women to be unemployed.

Young unemployed face ‘desperate labour market’

The study also found that non-Irish young people are less likely than their Irish counterparts to secure work, and that a post-Leaving Certificate qualification “is no longer important for unemployed youths in securing employment”.

However, those without the Leaving Certificate or higher level of education are struggling to secure work. The information is contained in an ESRI research bulletin, published yesterday, titled The Impact of the Great Recession on Unemployed Youth and NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) Individuals.

It is based on two separate pieces of research and concludes that “given the desperate labour market situation faced by young unemployed and NEET individuals… there is an immediate need for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Ireland, which is still only at the pilot stage”.

Whereas before the recession young women were more likely to be unemployed, now it is young men who are more likely to be without a job. Also, non-Irish nationals are more likely to be unemployed than their Irish peers.

One key finding in the study is in the rates of transition to employment for young people (aged 15 to 19) and those described as NEET, who are in the 20 to 24 age bracket. “The research found that there was a dramatic reduction in the percentage of both unemployed and NEET youths who moved into employment between 2006 and 2011: From 38% to 17.4% for unemployed youths and from 21.4% to 13.6% for NEET individuals.”

According to the report: “For both groups, the negative effect of having low levels of educational attainment (Junior Certificate or less) on finding a job has become stronger since the recession; while a post-Leaving Cert level qualification (which includes apprenticeships) is no longer important for unemployed youths in securing employment.”

From 2006 to 2012 Ireland’s youth unemployment rate soared from just under 10% to 33%, while the unemployment rate over the same period for those in the NEET category rose from just over 10% to 18.7%.

The study cites the collapse of the construction sector as having a particularly damaging effect on the job prospects of young men and also notes that: “The impact of geographical location also became more pronounced [during the recession]. In particular, the degree of disadvantage to living outside of Dublin rose substantially for many regions.”

It claims that vocational training needs to be reassigned to those areas of the labour market that can expect job growth and that more needs to be done to prevent early school leaving.

Full report links at

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