Addressing the issue of disadvantaged youth seeking work

Emma Hollywood*, Valerie Egdell, Ronald McQuaid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Since the economic downturn began in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2008, youth unemployment has risen and become increasingly significant for government policy. A number of reasons can be identified for the increase in youth unemployment including: the general contraction of the economy and labour market; reluctance of employers to take on new employees, especially young people who are perceived as lacking the necessary skills and experience (although these are often not seen as equating to qualifications, which young people have more of compared to older generations); the relatively high numbers of young people previously working in badly affected sectors such as construction and retail and more recently the public sector; and the overall increase in competition for a decreasing number of jobs (McQuaid et al. 2010). The National Employers Skill Survey in England (UKCES, 2010) found that a third (29%) of employers interviewed felt that 16 year old school leavers were poorly prepared for work. Issues included, a lack of experience of work/life, poor attitude, personality or lack of motivation, as opposed to any technical skills. Similar findings are also evident at a Scottish level where employers consider that school leavers have a lack of preparedness this is commonly attributed with ‘a lack of understanding of what working life entails and a poor attitude towards work characterised by frequent absence, poor timekeeping, a perceived lack of responsibility to their employer and a poor attitude to career development and training’ (Futureskills Scotland, 2008: 58). These factors present problems for all young people trying to take the first steps in the labour market but often it is those young people who are most vulnerable or disadvantaged that do not make successful transitions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Work and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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