Social mobility in crisis – response to Social Mobility Commission

Tuesday 30 April 2019

YWT logoA report released today by the Government’s Social Mobility Commission shows that social mobility is stalling. 

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

“Social mobility has stalled. Young people’s life chances are being decided before they are born, with those from the poorest backgrounds being locked out of jobs.  

“Young people – and particularly young women – are getting stuck on low pay and have little hope of finding a way out, despite many having good qualifications. 

“As a result, we are seeing many young people struggling to make ends meet, falling into debt and using foodbanks to put food on the table. It can be especially hard for young mums; in many cases, low pay means an hour’s childcare can cost more than an hour’s wages. 

“Young people tell us they want to work hard and be financially independent. 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. 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 (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). 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. For more information or case studies, please contact Bex Bailey at Young Women’s Trust on 020 7837 2019.