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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Young people and public spending cuts

The headlines this morning focus on the impact of a tightening jobs market on graduates. Competition in the jobs market is fiercer now than for the first "recession" generation of students. Last year there were 48 applications for each vacancy, now their are 70. The number of applicants chasing each job is so high that nearly 78 per cent of employers are insisting on a 2.1 degree, rendering a 2.2 marginal and effectively ruling out any graduates with a third. In 2008, when the economy was buoyant, just 57 per cent of employers insisted on a 2.1 or higher.

This reinforces the concerns we have previously highlighted on the impact of public spending cuts on young people. There are many young people (mature graduates as well) who have been studying for a degree and professional qualification, with the reasonable expectation of a job in the public sector. With jobs being lost and equally important, an almost blanket recruitment freeze, those jobs will not be available. There can be nothing more demoralising than having studied for years, only to find that the effort and cost is wasted.

And it is not only graduates. There will be a generation of young people who would have an expectation of an apprenticeship in a public sector occupation. Again these will at best find a job with little or no training or prospects. At worst they will join the growing numbers of the young unemployed, proportionally higher than other age groups.

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