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February 17, 2010



In my business I deal with many self employed skilled men. All of them are older than me (and I'm turning 40 next year). Many of the skilled trades are dying because either the youngsters don't want to go through the hassle of learning a trade, or they are unemployable in the first place.

If the standard of school leavers is anything like the ones I meet who work in the pub I go to for a quiz night, then I'm not surprised they struggle to get anything other than low grade jobs. The girl who reads the quiz out struggles to read any words over 3 syllables, and she's a teaching assistant during the day!


I always believe that the older work force has a lot to give business, they have a wealth of experience to give.


The most depressing part of this story is that it comes after 13 years of a Labour government. The same government that, back in 1997, told us it would make education its priority. What does it say about the state of our politics when there is only one politician brave enough to consider the long-term consequences of intergenerational injustice and he's a Conservative (David Willetts)?

David Morson

I think that all this depressing incident is happening due to the intensive propagation of "Family Planning" and control birth which is not going to generate Huge problems in the long run if appropriate steps are not taken by the governments.

Katie M.

What about people's retirement pots not being worth as much as they were necessitating those who would have retired early to stay on, leaving no jobs for those below them to move into? This would then also exacerbate the youth unemployment questions as fewer jobs at the bottom were moved out of. I'd be interested in seeing some figures on how mobile people have been in the labour market in the last two years: I suspect the answer is, not much.

(Layman) Mike

Certainly amongst professionals, the private sector is chronically ageist. Companies specifically target the middle-aged for redundancy, while simultaneously recruiting (only) new graduates. Experience is a liability, while youth is the most marketable commodity.
For example, engineering companies claim to suffer skill shortages and lobby colleges to provide them with new graduates. While completely ignoring the thousands of already qualified engineers made redundant over the last three decades.
Amongst skilled trades, apprenticeships have died, because companies are not willing to pay the costs of training themselves.
I suggest that your youth unemployment issue is actually an unskilled/uneducated youth unemployment issue. Youth itself is certainly far more marketable than experience.

Tony Dean

In this article it states that many more older workers have been employed that younger ones during the period mentioned. Essentially i think one of the main reasons for this is the experience a older worker has over a young person.

In tough economic times companies are less likely to want to take the chance of hiring a inexperienced youngster. An older worker may be seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’, someone who can be expected to provide maximum performance for the company.

For young people this again demonstrates the age old problem of how to go from academic education into a full time job when you have no practical experience.

As the article rightly points out those who are unemployed when they are young are also more likely to be unemployed when they get older. For this reason I believe drastic measures are needed.

One was would be for Government to consider beefing up current policies or introducing new ones that encourage companies to employ younger people. For instance tax breaks or grants.

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