Scottish youth unemployment: jobs for the boys and education for the girls?

Scotland's youth unemployment has fallen drastically over the past four years

Job creation hasn’t been as strong as it has been in England, partly down to immigration, although it is close to the UK figures for employment and unemployment. One figure that Scottish ministers like to highlight is the relatively low level of youth unemployment.

In Scotland, 9.3% of young people aged between 16 and 24 counted as unemployed and seeking work between April last year and March 2018.

Although Scotland may have lost some ground from the record levels of both achieved in the past couple of years, the headline job numbers remain strong.

Across the EU, that youth unemployment rate is over 15%. In Greece, it is 45%, Spain 34% and Italy 33%.

Stats wise, The Office for National Statistics shows a drastic drop in unemployment from 65,000 in April 2014 to March 15, or a rate of 16.4%. However, they’re not all getting jobs. The employment level for the age group has only edged up. Take the 16 to 24-year-old group between 2014-15 and 201-18, and you find employment rising from approx. 333,000 to 340,000. There’s a clear difference in the figures for young men – up by 15,000 – with young women, down by 7,000.

It seems that the education and training system is working best for young women at the margins of work, while young men who might otherwise be unemployed fit better into the apprenticeship model of employment.

The ONS figures reveal that, over the period of four years, the number of full-time students of all ages – at least the way they’re counted in the labour market survey – fell to 191,000 in 2015-16, and has since risen to 205,000.

The number of male full-time students has fallen slightly, while the number of female full-time students is up by 15,000.

Regarding part-time workers, of the 685,000 in that position in 2014-15, 109,000 wanted to go full time. Of 697,000 recently, 97,000 were there because nothing permanent has come up.

That’s still hugely frustrating for a lot of individuals and their families who don’t have the jobs they want or for which they are best suited. But overall, these are positive moves for the labour market.

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