Class of 2020

Education leavers in the current crisis

The economic fallout from the coronavirus has taken the UK into uncharted territory, with fears that an additional 640,000 18-24-year-olds could find themselves unemployed this year alone. This briefing note focuses specifically on the prospects facing young people leaving full-time education today, highlighting the size and length of employment and pay scarring that they could experience.

For instance, even three years after having left full-time education, the employment rate of today’s graduates are projected to be 13 per cent lower, three years down the line, than they would have been absent the crisis. Employment rates for mid- and low-skilled workers could fall even further: 27 per cent and 37 per cent respectively. Moreover, a large proportion of non-graduate leavers tend begin their careers in sectors that are currently shutdown and likely to suffer declines over the medium-to-longer term – such as retail and hospitality.

Given the challenges facing today’s education leavers, this briefing note highlights two sets of policy options, helping more young people to stay in education for longer, and targeting job support at those who are entering the labour market for the first time.