The Workers Union is backing a new deal for young workers.
The announcement came as a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), revealed that despite a general trend towards job security in the wider market, young people are disproportionately affected by zero hours contracts.
The report – entitled “Has Work Become Less Secure” – highlighted that there are proportionally fewer people working part time on an involuntary basis, working variable hours or wanting to increase their hours, than there were in 2010.
At the same time, the CIPD’s research drew less favourable conclusions for young workers. The total percentage of those working on zero hours contracts (contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours) was a comparatively small 2.8 percent of those in work. However, of that 2.8 percent, young people and employees in industries such as health and hospitality are disproportionately affected.
The CIPD’s report reflects a dawning realisation of the scale of the issues faced by young people in today’s world. New research published by the Intergenerational Foundation paints a picture of extreme disparities in jobs, wealth and housing between those groups at the start of their working lives, and older generations. Among the most startling findings are that full-time work is comparatively difficult to come by for people in the 16-24 age bracket. In 2019, nearly 20 percent of this group were involuntarily working part-time hours, while just 1.9 percent of over-65s were doing the same. This predicament has grown worse since the pandemic began, with young people hit particularly hard by job losses.
The Workers Union Says…
From time to time we hear a lot of good intentioned fluff from public figures about young people being the future. It’s a staple theme that permeates our culture, seeping as it does into saccharine pop songs and trite political pronouncements.
Alas, this research is a reminder that pretty phrases may be a way to open debate, but they do not constitute the action that is so clearly needed.
We must have an urgent discussion about what we can do to give young people hope to match their aspirations. That means ensuring that there are not only jobs, but quality jobs that deliver fulfilling, nurturing work, at the same as providing society with useful, sustainable outputs.
At the moment, the forbidding wall of stagnating wages, prohibitively expensive housing and limited working options do not present an enticing package for anyone living that reality. So, like the saccharine pop songs say, young people are our future – and it’s about time we helped them.