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Day1: Brexit: Implications for young people

The Brexit Generation 

Over the next week hundreds of thousands of young people will be receiving their A-Level and GCSE results. To mark the occasion Class has put together a week of activity with video interviews and thematic discussions of the future that young people face. From regional inequalities to employment opportunities – we’ll be looking at the issues that young people themselves have told us are important to them. This generation of school and university leavers are outdoing previous generations in terms of educational outcomes and duration of years in education yet face a long-list of challenges ahead.

James talks to Class about his expectations from university, the north - south divide and homeownership - watch below. 

There has been considerable discussion of the plight of the millennial generation. The statistics across income and housing are clear – those born between 1981 and 2000 are doing worse than the previous generation. For example, the proportion of homeowners under 35 has halved since the turn of the century. However, as someone who was born in the early years of the millennial generation I think the big difference lies between those that entered the labour market before and after the financial crisis. When I graduated university there were plenty of jobs. No one I know – no matter whether they went to university or not – had a problem finding a job. Skip to post financial crisis and people with the exact same qualifications have struggled to find graduate positions. One fifth of graduates are estimated to be in low and medium skilled jobs.

But those making their way towards the labour market in 2016 face a further set of Brexit-induced challenges. The new ‘Brexit generation’ face not only a potential economic slowdown, but more limited opportunities to live and work abroad with years of uncertainty as the economy recalibrates.

When the economy slows young people always suffer. Businesses respond to declining orders and uncertainty by ceasing to hire new workers rather than sacking experienced staff. Young people disproportionately rely on new hiring to secure employment as they move from education into the world of work. Class estimates that youth unemployment could increase to 750,000 by 2018 if recent Bank of England forecasts are correct.

My brother-in-law graduated in 2011 when there were still very few jobs for graduates. After a few years working in a distributions centre and then a call centre he took out a loan to do a Masters degree. He finishes this year and was hoping to finally get a decent job. Looking at the job market now he feels like the world is against him, I can see why.

But of course, it doesn’t need to be this way. The government must act now to soften the blow of an economic slowdown and must put young people at the centre of a future economic plan. We’ll be saying more about solutions next week. For now, have a listen to James, a recent University of Manchester graduate, who provides an overview of the hurdles young people, especially those from working class backgrounds and living outside of London and the South East, face.