We are constantly being told that we have to improve our employability skills and qualifications for finding employment. Yet whilst more qualifications may help in getting a job, from a policy perspective if ignores the obvious. There is simply a shortage of work.
New research from the UK Joseph Rowntree Foundation explores the difficulty of job searching for young people seeking low-skilled work in three areas in England and Wales. Their overall finding is that the main problem for disadvantaged young people looking for work is fundamental – a major shortage of jobs.
Other key findings include:
- Over two-thirds of applications (69%) received no response at all.
- 78% of the jobs applied for paid under £7 an hour, while 54% offered the minimum wage. Only 24% of the vacancies offered full-time, daytime work.
- In the weak labour market, 10 jobseekers chased every job compared to five jobseekers in the strong one.
- Jobseekers who do not have high-speed internet at home are at a substantial disadvantage and can only search for jobs sporadically, rather than the daily basis that is required.
- Applications sent a week after jobs were first advertised were half as likely to receive positive responses as those sent in the first three days.
- The research found there was strong evidence that good-quality applicants from neighbourhoods with poor reputations were not more likely to be rejected by employers.
- However, employers expressed a preference for local candidates with easy journeys to work.