UK Youth Unemployment Is Third Worst In OECD, Finds New Report

The UK has the one of the worst levels for youth unemployment in the developed world, with just Spain and Greece experiencing higher levels in the OECD.

In addition, the UK has experienced the fastest rise in youth unemployment of any country in the G8 since the start of the recession.

However, a report from the Work Foundation claims the youth unemployment problem in Britain cannot be blamed on the recession alone.

Report author Lizzie Crowley said: "In many other developed nations, youth unemployment has remained low despite the global downturn. However, in the UK youth unemployment as a proportion of 15-24 year olds has increased at a faster rate over the course of the recession than both the European and OECD averages.

"While the reasons for this are complex, it's clear that the UK can learn from the experiences of those countries that have fared much better in terms of youth unemployment. The government should focus on those policies that have been shown to work, cherry-picking the best responses from other countries and adapting them to the needs of the UK labour market."

Drawing on best practice from other countries, the report calls on the British government to take the best programmes already being run across the world to help the ship of youth unemployment around.

Youth unemployment as a proportion of population aged 15-24 years, 2000-2011

From Germany, which has seen youth unemployment drop 21% since 2008, the report calls for greater employer engagement and urges the government to push for all large employers to sign an agreement to offer places, with a widening of the model to include more occupations and greater academic content.

From Denmark, the report calls for the government to focus on early intervention and an 'education first' approach for young unemployed people without qualifications. Policy should also encourage more opportunities for private sector on-the-job training, which is likely to have more long-term benefits compared to unpaid work experience.

And from Australia, the report warns that while voluntary schemes can have a small positive impact, forcing people to take part in schemes can actually reduce a person's chances of getting into work.

The report also recommends improving and reintroducing the Key Stage 4 work experience programme and developing a range of other initiatives to better integrate education with work.

The data arrives on the heels of new figures from commercial law firm EMW, which revealed British employers have paid out £18.4 billion to 410,000 workers in lay-off payments since September 2008, up 11% from the year before.

Under the Employment Act 1996, employees are protected from being made redundant or dismissal without just reason, where you can be awarded up to 90 days pay in damages.

The level of minimum payouts varies depending on the employee's age and employer. For instance, those under the age of 22, are entitled to half a week's pay for each full year of service. An entire week's pay for each full year can be made if the employee is 22 or above, but under 41 years of age. While those aged 41 or older, must receive at least 1.5 week's of pay.