There are now 1.2 million unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds living in the UK, according to new figures published this morning by the Office of National Statistics. It is now at a 15-year high and is double the rate for the rest of the population. The number of unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds – which includes graduates – rose by 55,000 in the last three months, to reach 799,000.

Graduate Fog has just sent out this comment to journalists at the UK’s main newspapers, on behalf of this website’s founder, Tanya de Grunwald:

“Today’s figures confirm that youth unemployment is no longer just a problem – it is now a full-blown crisis. A million jobless under-25s would fill the 02 Arena five times over. That’s a lot of crushed hope.

“The government must do more – and they must do it fast. In the last six months, 48 people have found my website by Googling ‘graduate suicide’. If that doesn’t send a shiver down David Cameron’s spine, I don’t know what will.

“Employers know they hold all the cards so they are becoming ever more demanding of applicants. Young people without degrees are told they need expensive qualifications before they’ll be considered for paid jobs. Those with degrees are told they’ll need to do months of unpaid internships first. For young people, it feels like the goal posts keep moving further away.

“The government must do more to encourage businesses to invest in their young staff – and clamp down on the thousands of employer running illegal unpaid internships, where young people are effectively doing a full-time job for no pay. Employers often complain that young people aren’t ‘work ready’ – but they should remember that a little bit of training goes a long way if they choose the right candidate. Young people might not know it all on Day One, but they are packed with potential. If employers take the trouble to unlock that potential they have a huge amount to gain.”

*Did we get it right?
Is there anything you’d like to add, that we didn’t include in this press statement? Were we too tough on employers – or not tough enough? What is your reaction to the news that there are now 1.2 million young people unemployed in this country?

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