Social mobility stalling – new Impetus report

Wednesday 24 April 2019

YWT logoA report released today by the charity Impetus PEF shows that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to be out of work than their wealthier peers – even when they achieve the same qualifications. 

Commenting Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“Social mobility has stalled. Today’s report shows that young people from the poorest backgrounds are being locked out of jobs because their life chances are decided before they are born.  

“The disadvantage is so entrenched that even gaining high qualifications is no longer a route out of poverty – a finding echoed in a recent Young Women’s Trust report. 

“Young Women’s Trust found that hundreds of thousands of young women without a job are being written off as “economically inactive” and going without support to find employment, despite many of them having good qualifications and wanting to work. 

“It is time for the Government to recognise the jobs crisis facing so many young people and provide decent skills training and jobs, so that everyone can achieve their potential.” 


Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 18-30 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.
  2. “Economically inactive” refers to people not in employment who have not been seeking work within the last 4 weeks and/or are unable to start work within the next 2 weeks. Young Women’s Trust’s research looks at young women who are both economically inactive and not in employment, education or training (NEET).
  3. Young Women’s Trust commissioned analysis of the ‘Understanding Society’ dataset from the University of Essex into the risk of those who were working, self-employed or actively seeking work becoming economically inactive. The research found that:
    1. young women with degrees are as likely to be economically inactive as young men with no qualifications;
    2. new mothers and women with a dependent child are six times more likely to be economically inactive than those without, but having a child does not impact on men’s chances of becoming economically inactive; and
    3. young people demonstrating the signs of a minor psychiatric disorder are 46 per cent more likely than those without them to become economically inactive.
  4. Young Women’s Trust commissioned an analysis of the ONS Labour Force Survey covering January to March 2016 and found that 29 per cent of young women who were NEET and economically inactive wanted to work now and 86 per cent thought they would work in the future.
  5. The charity then produced the first in-depth report into young women’s economic activity: ‘Young, Female and Forgotten?’, detailing the causes and recommendations for action that were informed by young women and policymakers. The result is the most comprehensive study of its kind on this issue.
  6. For more information or case studies, please contact Bex Bailey at Young Women’s Trust on 020 7837 2019.