Greater focus needed on helping young women into work

The Office for National Statistics today published UK labour market data for the period from March to May 2017. The data released shows that 476,000 women aged 16-24, are out of work and full-time education.

Clearly, the issue of gender disparity is not just a technology sector problem, although this issue – particularly in senior roles – is rife at tech firms.

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The data shows that 136,000 women aged 16-24 who are actively seeking work, are unemployed and not in full-time education. A further 340,000 women aged 16-24 are classed as “economically inactive” and not in full-time education. They are “economically inactive” because they are not able to seek work currently or not able to start work immediately – often due to childcare – they do not count as “unemployed”.

The data suggested that 261,000 men aged 16-24 are economically inactive and not in full-time education – 79,000 fewer than the number of women.

Commenting, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: “Young Women’s Trust welcomes the overall fall in unemployment and economic inactivity. We now need a real focus on supporting the nearly half a million young women who are still out of work and full-time education.”

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“Young women want to work and be financially independent. But Young Women’s Trust research shows that women still face significant barriers to work. Discrimination against women in job interviews remains rife and lots of women tell us the flexible hours they need to balance work with family are not available. In many cases, an hour’s childcare can cost more than an hour’s wages.”

“As a result, young women are struggling to make ends meet and more than half say they are worried about the future. They are falling into debt, moving back in with their parents and putting their lives on hold.”

“Much more needs to be done to improve young people’s prospects. This means giving them the right skills and support to find jobs, ensuring decent and flexible jobs are available, and paying a proper living wage that doesn’t discriminate against age. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.”

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Young Women’s Trust research also shows that young women are struggling financially. The charity commissioned Populus Data Solutions to undertake a survey of young people between 27 June and 13 July 2016.

A representative sample of 4,014 18-30 year olds in Great Britain, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed. Young Women’s Trust’s survey found that 51% of young people are worried about their future, including 55% of young women, while the main issues young people raised were low pay, job insecurity and housing.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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