A new report, released today by the Learning and Work Institute and The Prince’s Trust, finds an increase in mental health conditions and low self-confidence are key factors preventing rising number of young people out of work from entering employment.
The report presents an opportunity for almost half a million (484,000) young people not in work, education or training (NEET) to get into work if given the right support. Supported by HSBC UK, the report is based on new labour market data analysis, a Kantar survey with NEET young people aged 16 – 24 from across the UK and two focus groups with young people.
New analysis of latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) data from 2021 shows a quarter (25 per cent) of young people who are NEET experience some form of mental health problem, compared with 9 per cent of those in employment. A wider analysis of Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) data suggests this figure is growing and could be higher. Since 2011 the number of NEET young people reporting a mental health problem has increased from one in ten (11 per cent) to almost a third (30 per cent) in 2022. This is significantly more than young people who are in education, employment or training (2 per cent in 2011 and 10 per cent in 2022).
The report also asks NEET young people why they are struggling to secure a job or not looking for work, with the most common response being due to a mental health problem or disability (39 per cent).
The polling also suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated these issues, with almost half (46 per cent) of young people stating they had additional mental and physical health issues or caring responsibilities due to the pandemic which meant they were out of work.
In addition to mental health, a quarter (25 per cent) of young people polled said that applying for lots of jobs without success was stopping them from securing work, and over a fifth (23 per cent) said low confidence was a key factor. Almost one in five (18 per cent) said they struggle with the job application or interview process.
Latest Annual Population Survey (APS) data shows that the number of unemployed young people combined with inactive young people who would like to work, reveals almost half a million (484,000) NEET young people who are able to and want to work.
These findings are supported by the polling, where almost three fifths (58%) of NEET young people said they are currently looking for work. Longer term, over 8 in 10 (84 per cent) said they had employment or career aspirations within the next three to five years.