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The Correlation Between Unhappiness and Unemployment is a Stark One

According to last weeks papers Britain officially delved into recession and if you are to believe a recent survey to come out of the Prince’s Trust, you’re almost twice as likely to be unhappy if you’re unemployed. Tom Sawbridge explores and elucidates the current job market for young men, and hopefully, the to road to a happier life:

Recent news about youth employment has been alarming. The latest survey by the Prince’s Trust, as reported by the BBC, found 1 in 10 young people did not find their life worth living. This figure almost doubled for people not in employment, education or training. Young people are the most susceptible to the torments of unemployment and David Blanchflower, a leading economist, has spoken out over the demoralising effect of youth unemployment. He warns of long term “scarring” of this new generation of people out of work for more than a year.

From the wave of media coverage we understand two things; the imminent job market outlook is bleak and chances of finding work are lower but not impossible. In the last quarter of 2008 (September to November, the latest available figures) the number of unemployed was 1.92 million, the highest figure since December 1997. During these months there was a 131,000 rise in unemployment. The British Chamber of Commerce warn unemployment is predicted to rise to 3 million by the end of 2009. Construction, shipping, manufacturing and finance are the sectors worst hit by job losses. And yet, some food retailers, such as Aldi, Netto, Asda, Sainsbury’s and even some banks, Lloyds TSB for example, are still growing business despite the recession.

The young are worst affected. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has reported 55,000 (40%) of the 137,000 new unemployed in the 3 months up to October 2008 were between 18-24 years old. Up to 1.25million (42%) of the 3 million projected to be unemployed by 2009 are likely to be between 18-24 years old.

As we all ask ourselves – what on earth are we going to do – we simultaneously look to the Government for help. And the good news is, they are doing something. Namely, apprenticeships and internships. In the case of the former, Gordon Brown has earmarked £140 million to create 35,000 new apprenticeships. Apprenticeships, or ‘Mc Jobs’ if you ask their critics, are on offer across many sectors including Engineering, IT and Business and Finance. Questions remain about the scheme’s fairness – apprenticeships don’t currently come under minimum wage legislation, for a start. Just another way of employing young labour cheaply or a faster route into a profession? On the other hand John Denham, the Skills Secretary, announced he was working with four major firms, including Barclays and Microsoft, to arrange a 3 month internship program for graduates. Again this approach has it’s critics who firmly believe this is our Government’s attempt to take credit for existing practise.

When asked about the internship initiative a spokeswomen from Microsoft confirmed it was merely, “business as usual”. There is also no information from the Denham’s department, the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), on how the internships will be put in place. Last week a Government representative told The Times the scheme was in a “very early stage”. Positively fledgling since local Job Centres claim not to have hear of it.

New intensive training is on offer for those out of work for 6 months. The Government has announced a £83 million fund to create 75,000 new training places for people out of work for 6 months. A spokeswomen for the Department of Work and Pensions also suggested some people will be fast tracked onto this scheme before the full 6 months is up stressing that people with health issues, including people struggling with poor mental health, will be given special, personalised support and training.

In London, capital investment schemes such as the Olympics and Heathrow’s Third Runway will go some way to increase buoyancy. A report by UK Commission on Employment and Skills suggests there will be a large rise in construction jobs as a result of these Capital projects.

More substantial unemployment policy can be found elsewhere. It is in the Government’s macro-economic policy, in essence, its lowering of taxation and its rise in spending. In addition there are services that already exist for job seekers that are not fully exploited by the unemployed. Information about existing jobs is not in short supply and the Minister for Works and Pensions, James Purnell, recently insisted there were still over 500,000 vacancies across Britain. In London alone hundreds of jobs become available everyday and they are advertised in the Government’s JobCentre Plus. Services include:

The Job Centre Plus Service
This Service is the main government supported network for finding jobs and is quick and easy to use. Walk into your local Job Centre Plus or explore their website . Click here to find out more.

A Career Advice Bureau
This is the main government supported network for careers advice. Click here to find out more.

There is a wealth of careers/job seeking services supported by the Government. These include the main graduate service, Prospects. Click here to find out more.

A job search can be daunting no matter what the state of the market is but hopefully you’ll find a few of these leads a good place to start your search. We cannot say for sure what the future holds but one look at the Princes Trust statistics implies you are likely to be happier in any definition of employment, and finding a job might seem a bit trickier but, with half a million vacancies across Britain, it is by no means impossible.

Photo by Dani Lurie (I don’t know, maybe.)

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