A 21-year-old graduate now has the same change of being out of work as a 16-year-old school leaver with one GCSE, according to new stats released today. While the figures are unlikely to cheer job-seeking graduates, we hope it will shock politicians into acknowledging your plight and making changes to help you to find work.

Research from the Office of National Statistics found that among both groups of young people, around one in four is likely to be looking for work. For 16-year-olds who left school with as little as one GSCE at grade C, 25.9% are unemployed. Among 21-year-old university graduates, 24.8% are looking for work.

These figures raise some big questions. Is it right that the government is still encouraging so many young people to go to university? Or should they just be doing more to help to create jobs for you? And, in the meantime, should universities be allowed to continue to sell these expensive courses, when so many of their students will find that their qualification won’t lead to paid work in their chosen field – or indeed, any other field?

Graduate Fog has been shocked to see few signs that the government has a proper plan for tackling this problem — and many signs that they are shockingly out of touch with the reality of life for many young voters. Earlier this week, the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail:

“…we are caught in a battle between those who think young people should work only if they are able to secure their dream job, and those like myself who passionately believe that work in all shapes and forms can be valuable, for it gives people a sense of purpose and opens up further opportunities.”

Does that bear any resemblance to the challenges you face with your job hunt? Are you turning your nose up at anything other than your ‘dream job’? Most graduates tell us they are desperate for any paid work they can find. The problem is that so many graduate ‘jobs’ are in fact unpaid internships – because the government has failed to enforce the national minimum wage for young people. Whether this is because they don’t think you’re worth paying or they don’t think it’s important remains unclear.

Is it time for some proper research into this issue? Do we need to debate about what’s really going on – and how we should move forward? Yes, it’s uncomfortable to admit there is a big problem here – but once we do so, at least we can start giving young people proper advice that’s based on fact, not fantasy.


Do our politicians need to admit that the expansion of higher education was a mistake? Or should they just work harder to help create more jobs for graduates?

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • More Networks
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap