How have young people's experiences of unemployment changed since the 1980s?

April 16, 2013

( —Research teams from the University of Glasgow and the University of Leicester aim to explore unemployment, insecurity and vulnerability among young people during two key periods of economic instability.

Researchers are investigating the experiences of unemployed young people during two of the worst periods for youth unemployment.

'The making of the 'precariat': unemployment, insecurity and work-poor young adults in harsh economic conditions' is a one-year research project which will examine youth unemployment in the mid-1980s and from 2009-11.

The project is being carried out by research teams from the School of Education at the University of Glasgow and the Centre for Labour Market Studies within the University of Leicester's School of Management, with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.

The project will explore how unemployment, insecurity and among 18-25 year-olds have changed between two key periods of in the UK.

In November 2011, youth unemployment hit the 1 million mark, according to figures from the Office for . This was a record high since comparable records began in 1992. This meant that one in five young people were out of work.

Earlier data, calculated on a slightly different basis, suggested was even higher in the mid-1980s.

The project will look in detail at experiences of unemployment, and vulnerability among young people during these two periods.

Researchers will use one contemporary dataset, Understanding Society and two historical datasets from 1980s Young Adults in the Labour Market (1983) and The Changing Structure of Youth Labour Markets (1986). Both historical have never been reused and one never archived.

The researchers hope the making of the 'precariat' project will enhance our understanding of vulnerable, work-poor, young adults in order to provide new underpinnings for effective youth employment policies.

Professor Furlong, University of Glasgow, said: "'This project will enable us to learn more about the new realities of the labour market for young adults, highlighting the ways in which people struggle to survive in a context of high unemployment and precarious opportunities."

Dr John Goodwin, University of Leicester, said: "The historic youth data we have, combined with data from Understanding Society, offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the lived realities of vulnerable, work-poor, young adults over a thirty year period highlighting both the continuities and changes in young people's experience of employment and/or unemployment.

"Many think that the experiences of today are somehow unique yet the data points to remarkable similarities in the contemporary experiences and the experiences of young people who left work in the early and mid 1980s. They too were labelled a lost generation."

Explore further: How young adults cope with employment uncertainty

More information:

Related Stories

How young adults cope with employment uncertainty

May 23, 2007

Young adults don’t necessarily have ‘identity crises’ when it comes to flexible labour markets and job insecurity, concludes a new study published by Bristol University. The study, Constructing coherence: young adults’ ...

Young people face double penalty in a slow job market

February 29, 2012

The latest official unemployment figures show that unemployment among young people has soared to 22.3 per cent, higher than the recession of the 1990s, while the overall unemployment rate is nine per cent. New research from ...

What happens to the young and educated without a job?

January 10, 2012

( -- A new study led by the University of Oxford is looking at how young educated people who are unemployed become politicized in different ways - either through violent struggle or as reformers working for a ...

Recommended for you

Clues to ancient past—baby mummy, dinosaur skulls scanned

September 22, 2017

The mummified remains of a 7-month-old baby boy and pieces of skull from two teenage Triceratops underwent computed tomography (CT) scans Saturday, Sept. 16, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in hopes ...

Neanderthal boy's skull grew like a human child's: study

September 21, 2017

The first analysis of a Neanderthal boy's skull uncovered in Spain suggests that he grew much like a modern boy would, in another sign that our extinct ancestors were similar to us, researchers said Thursday.

Early trilobites had stomachs, new fossil study finds

September 21, 2017

Exceptionally preserved trilobite fossils from China, dating back to more than 500 million years ago, have revealed new insights into the extinct marine animal's digestive system. Published today in the journal PLOS ONE, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.