We need a greater focus on helping young women into work

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Young Women’s Trust welcomes fall in unemployment but says we need a greater focus on helping young women into work 

YWTData released today by the Office for National Statistics shows that 476,000 women aged 16-24, are out of work and full-time education. Commenting, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“Young Women’s Trust welcomes the overall fall in unemployment and economic inactivity. We now need a real focus on supporting the nearly half a million young women who are still out of work and full-time education. 

“Young women want to work and be financially independent. But Young Women’s Trust research shows that women still face significant barriers to work. Discrimination against women in job interviews remains rife and lots of women tell us the flexible hours they need to balance work with family are not available. In many cases, an hour’s childcare can cost more than an hour’s wages. 

“As a result, young women are struggling to make ends meet and more than half say they are worried about the future. They are falling into debt, moving back in with their parents and putting their lives on hold. 

“Much more needs to be done to improve young people’s prospects. This means giving them the right skills and support to find jobs, ensuring decent and flexible jobs are available, and paying a proper living wage that doesn’t discriminate against age. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.” 


Notes to editor: 

  1. The Office for National Statistics today published UK labour market data for the period from March to May 2017.
  2. The data shows that 136,000 women aged 16-24 are unemployed and not in full-time education. They are actively seeking work. A further 340,000 women aged 16-24 are classed as “economically inactive” and not in full-time education. They are “economically inactive” because they are not able to seek work currently or not able to start work immediately – often due to childcare. They do not count as “unemployed”. 261,000 men aged 16-24 are economically inactive and not in full-time education – 79,000 fewer than the number of women.
  3. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
    1. Young Women’s Trust research shows that young women are struggling financially. The charity commissioned Populus Data Solutions to undertake a survey of young people between 27 June and 13 July 2016. A representative sample of 4,014 18-30 year olds in Great Britain, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed. Young Women’s Trust’s survey found that:
      1. 51 per cent of young people are worried about their future, including 55 per cent of young women;
      2. the main issues young people raised were low pay, job insecurity and housing;
      3. 39 per cent of young women said they struggle to make their cash last until the end of the month and 25 per cent are in debt all of the time; and
      4. a quarter of young people said they had to move back in with their parents because they could not afford rent.
      5. Young mothers in particular are facing financial hardships. Young Women’s Trust’s latest report, ‘What matters to young mums?’ (23 March 2017) found that:
        1. 27 per cent were currently using food banks or had used them in the past;
        2. 46 per cent regularly missed meals in order to provide for their children
        3. 61 per cent were “only just managing financially”;
        4. when asked about the financial situation in their household on a scale of one to five, with five being “extremely worried”, 23 per cent gave a ranking of four and 11 per cent gave a ranking of five; and
        5. one in four had left a job because they couldn’t afford childcare.
        6. Young Women’s Trust released a report looking into the reasons behind young women’s economic inactivity on 30 November 2016. The research shows that a third of economically inactive women want to work now and 86 per cent at some point in the future but they are not given the support they need.

For more information or to speak to a young woman who is affected, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org.