The research, carried out by the EY accountancy firm, discovered rates of youth unemployment – people aged 16 to 24 – vary far more than overall rates across all age ranges.
Young people are finding it easier to find employment in the East of England, where youth unemployment is 11.2%, than in North East England, where the rate is 18.3%.
Of the 48 cities that took part in the survey, those that showed the highest rates of youth unemployment included Middlesbrough, Bradford, Wolverhampton and Swansea. More than one-quarter of young people in these cities are currently unemployed.
One of the lowest rates of unemployment in the young was found in Coventry, with just 8.2%, while Leicester had one of the highest, with 23.6% – a figure that is double the national average for all ages.
The findings have led to experts calling on British employers to actively take a lead in employing younger people with the aim of ensuring the country has the right skills to face the future with confidence.
Maryanne Matthews, the chief executive of the EY Foundation – a UK charity that helps young people to overcome barriers when looking for jobs – said it is essential that British employers make sure they invest in our country’s future by actively encouraging young people to acquire the skills needed in today’s job market.
While it is true that youth unemployment rates have fallen since they hit a peak of 40% during the recession, the number of young people employed declined between 2004 and 2015 by 166,000. The biggest reduction was in the manufacturing industry (28%), while sectors such as construction, business and finance also stopped employing so many young people.
The survey did reveal some good news: Sectors showing higher levels of youth employment, including hospitality, are expected to continue to grow, albeit in a small way.
EY chief economist Mark Gregory said the numbers of young people unemployed may be further increased if the country continues to face a weak economy, particularly following the Brexit vote. He explained that young people often bear the brunt of economic uncertainty and that employers need to ensure they do not freeze our youth out of the opportunities they need to gain the skills necessary to take the country into a successful future.
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