Young Scots ‘stuck in poorly paid jobs’
Young people in Scotland are being trapped in unstable, poorly paid jobs with limited prospects, it has been claimed.
A report by think tank the Scotland Institute found that the nature of jobs on offer for 16 to 24-year-olds has changed “radically” over the last 20 years.
It found that young people from deprived backgrounds are still the most likely to suffer from unemployment.
But prospects for those who are in work significantly deteriorated between 1992 and 2012, according to report author Dr Roger Cook, research director at the institute.
Dr Cook said: “It is when we turn our attention to the nature of that employment that the consequences of 20 years of labour market deregulation become painfully clear.
“In 1992, youth employment could be characterised as consisting of full time, relatively well paid work with career prospects.
“In 2012, youth employment is characterised by short term, part time, poorly paid work and with much more limited prospects of any future improvement.
“In effect, and by deliberate choice, we have confined the bulk of our young people to jobs that may allow them to earn enough to survive but often little prospect of long term economic security.”
The broad trend shows youth unemployment at around 16% in 1992 and around 20% now, according to the report.
It recognises that many key powers are held by Westminster but calls on the Scottish Government to do more to address the problem.
Dr Cook said: “The Scottish Government does have leverage in key areas. It can make use of the substantial public sector – health, education, central and local government – to ensure that there is less use of short term, low paid contracts of employment.
“Equally it should make use of its role as a purchaser of goods and services to influence behaviour in the private sector.
“In combination, this will have some impact on the increasing levels of job insecurity that faces Scotland’s young people.
“Even those lucky enough to secure employment now face a situation where pay and/or hours are too low to yield a decent standard of living.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said figures show youth employment in Scotland has moved in the right direction over the last six months.
“However, there will be no let up from the Scottish Government with the offer of a place in training or education for all 16 to 19-year-olds,” she said.
“We are delivering at least 25,000 Modern Apprentice starts every year and investing in training for young people through the employability fund. There is also clear evidence that a high proportion of MAs sustain their employment.
“The Scottish Government has promoted the use of community benefit clauses as part of the public procurement reform programme since 2008, this has delivered over 3500 training and employment opportunities.
“However, Scotland can only maximise its action to support more young people into secure employment if we had the additional powers that independence would bring to help secure additional economic growth.”
The Scotland Institute was set up in June last year with an aim to present non-politically partisan reports into major subjects.