Young workers struggle with reading and maths in UK creating skills crisis

In 2016, 11% of the UK labour market was non-UK nationals

The number of working-age foreign-born people in the UK increased in 2015

A Journal of People report

Britain is facing a severe skills shortage as poor education at schools followed by weak training for adults has left young workers struggling to meet basic standards for reading and maths.

A report by The Telegraph said:

“Almost every other developed country has had more success in building a skilled workforce, leaving the UK economy at risk of falling behind, according to the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD)

“Its analysis found that England and Northern Ireland rank in the bottom four OECD countries for literacy and numeracy among 16-24 year olds, while employers invest less in skills than most other EU countries.”

The report by Tim Wallace said:

“Analysts are calling on the Government to put training and skills at the centre of its industrial strategy.

“‘This is a sobering analysis of the state of skills in the UK. Our report should serve as a real wake-up call for the Government to break with the past two decades of failed skills policy,’ said the CIPD’s skills adviser Lizzie Crowley.

“‘While more efforts are being made to reform education, it’s clear that there needs to be a much greater emphasis on learning and development in the workplace.’”

The April 19, 2017 datelined report said:

The CIPD proposes increasing skills funding by £3bn, with £1bn of that coming from the National Productivity Investment Fund and the other £2bn from the Apprenticeship Levy, a new tax which came in this month. Another important step would be to promote lifetime learning to ensure workers are not left with only the skills they learn in school even as the economy changes around them.

Citing the CIPD report the “UK in skills crisis as young workers struggle with reading and maths” headlined report by The Telegraph said:

“An ageing population and the need to work longer combined with rapid technological change and automation will require the workforce to continually update their skills to adapt to changing needs,” the report said.

“There is an institutional gap in addressing the training and development needs of workers outside the current vocational education system. This needs to be addressed.”

The report said:

Business groups have urged the government to focus the industrial strategy on improving productivity, particularly in the UK’s poorest areas.

The Confederation of British Industry called for a greater focus on skills as a crucial step to “fix the foundations” of the economy.

Manufacturing group the EEF warned that almost three-quarters of its firms are concerned that it is difficult to find workers with the necessary skills, which risks holding back economic growth.


Labor market scene

Earlier, “International immigration and the labour market, UK: 2016”, an article by the Office of National Statistics, said:

“In 2016, 11% (3.4 million +/- 0.2 million) of the UK labour market (30.3 million +/- 0.3 million) were non-UK nationals; EU nationals contributed 7% (2.2 million +/- 0.1 million) and non-EU nationals 4% (1.2 million +/- 0.1 million).”

The article released on April 12, 2017 said:

“There are higher proportions of international migrants in some industry sectors more than others; particularly the 14% of the wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants workforce are international migrants (508,000 (+/- 64,000) EU nationals are employed here) and 12% of the financial and business services sector’s workforce are international migrants (382,000 (+/- 56,000) of which are EU nationals); 8% of workers in manufacturing are EU8 nationals.

“701,000 non-UK nationals work in the public administration, education and health sector; over a quarter of EU14 workers (27%) and non-EU workers (29%) are employed in these industries.”

It said:

“The highest number of non-UK nationals are employed in elementary occupations (such as selling goods, cleaning or freight handling), in which approximately 669,000 (+/-86,000) non-UK nationals are employed (510,000 are EU nationals); this is followed by professional occupations, in which an estimated 658,000 (+/-83,000) non-UK nationals were employed (352,000 were EU nationals).

“Non-UK nationals are more likely to be in jobs they are over-qualified for than UK nationals; approximately 15% of UK nationals were employed in jobs they were deemed to be over-educated for (in comparison to other workers), compared with almost 2 in 5 non-UK nationals (37% of EU14, EU2 and non-EU nationals and 40% of EU8 nationals).”

It said:

“Compared to the national average (median) earnings (£11.30 per hour), EU14 nationals earned more (£12.59) whereas EU8 and EU2 had the lowest (£8.33).”

These data help understand a few of the problems the economy is facing. These also help understand the migrants-issue.

In the “Statistician’s Comment” section, the article said:

“Today’s analysis shows the significant impact international migration has on the UK labour market. It is particularly important to the wholesale and retail, hospitality, and public administration and health sectors, which employ around 1.5 million non-UK nationals.

“Migrants from Eastern Europe, Bulgaria and Romania are likely to work more hours and earn lower wages than other workers, partly reflecting their numbers in lower-skilled jobs. Many EU migrants are also more likely to be over-educated for the jobs they are in.”

The study found:

# “Regardless of nationality, a higher proportion of people worked in the private sector compared with the public sector in 2016.”

# “There were an estimated 6.7 million (+/-0.1 million) workers employed in the public sector in 2016, according to the APS. This is higher than the estimate published in the Public sector employment, UK: September 2016 statistical bulletin, which estimates that in September 2016 total UK public sector employment was 5.4 million; however, these figures do not provide a breakdown by nationality. It should be noted that public sector estimates in the Annual Population Survey (APS) are self-reported. This means that survey respondents classify themselves as public or private sector workers, which does not necessarily correspond to the national accounts definition used for public sector employment estimates.”

# “Overall, 14% of those in employment within the UK were self-employed.”

# “In 2016, 75% of those in employment worked full-time.”

# “The highest proportion of full- and part-time UK nationals were employed in the public admin, education and health sector. Female UK nationals contributed almost half of the public admin, education and health sector workforce (estimated 46%); however, the highest proportion of male workers from the UK were employed in the financial and business services sector (estimated 18%).”

# “At least half of EU8 and EU2 workers (estimated 50% and 61% respectively) worked more than 40 hours per week compared with around a third of UK nationals (estimated 32%). On average, 1 in 5 UK and non-EU residents worked below 25 hours per week (estimated 20%); however, a smaller proportion of resident EU nationals (regardless of country grouping) worked below 25 hours a week.”


Employment levels and shares of migrants

A briefing by The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said:

“The number of working-age foreign-born people in the UK increased from nearly 3.0 million in 1993 to 7.0 million in 2015 (see Figure 1). The annual increases have been mostly positive. There was a significant jump in the number of foreign-born workers in the UK during 2006, which coincides with the opening of UK labour markets to workers from the A8 countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) in mid-2004.

“Foreign-born women workers always outnumbered men, particularly from 2012.”

The December 1, 2016 briefing provides an overview of the employment levels and employment shares of migrants in the UK economy as a whole, and in specific sectors and occupations. The briefing “Migrants in the UK Labour Market: An Overview” said:

“The share of foreign-born persons in total employment increased from 7.2 % in 1993 to 16.7% in 2015. In 2015, foreign-citizens made up 10.7% of total employment, up from 3.5% in 1993. The share of recent migrants in total employment increased significantly in recent years although.”

Based at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, the Migration Observatory provides impartial, independent, authoritative, evidence-based analysis of data on migration and migrants in the UK, to inform media, public and policy debates, and to generate high quality research on international migration and public policy issues.

The briefing said:

“Although foreign-born workers have been and remain employed in a wide range of jobs, the growth in employment shares of foreign-born workers in recent years has been fastest among lower-skilled occupations and sectors. In 2002, there was only one low-skilled occupation (food preparation trades) in the list of top ten occupations with the highest shares of foreign-born workers. As shown in Table 1, there are now at least five low-skilled occupations on this list (i.e. elementary process plant, process operatives, cleaning and housekeeping managers, elementary cleaning, food preparation and hospitality).

“In 2015, 42% of workers in elementary process plant occupations (e.g. industry cleaning process occupation and packers, bottlers, canners and fillers), 36% of workers process operatives (i.e. food, drink and tobacco process; glass and ceramics process operatives; textile process operatives; chemical and related process operatives; rubber and plastic process operatives; metal making and treating process and electroplaters) and 35% in cleaning and housekeeping managers and supervisions were foreign-born. The increase in the share of migrant labour has been greatest among process operatives (e.g. food, drink and tobacco process operatives, plastics process operatives, chemical and related process operatives) up from 8.5% in 2002 to 36% in 2015.”


Young female workers face stagnant wages

Young women are struggling to stay afloat in the current market as stagnant wages are becoming more common.

A report by said:

“Data released today by the Office for National Statistics shows that 473,000 women aged 16-24, are out of work and full-time education. Those who are working face stagnant wages, while the cost of living continues to increase.”

The April 12, 2017 datelined report said:

“Half (51 per cent) of young people are worried about their future, including 55 per cent of young women; the main issues young people raise are low pay, job insecurity and housing.

“Two fifths (39 per cent) of young women say they struggle to make their cash last until the end of the month and 25 per cent are in debt all of the time.

“A quarter of young people say they had to move back in with their parents because they could not afford rent.”

The “Young female workers struggle with stagnant wages, research shows” headlined report said:

“Commenting, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE says, ‘Today’s figures show that half a million young women are now out of work and full-time education. Those in work face stagnating wages while the cost of food and other everyday basics is rising. This is making life even harder for thousands of young women – many of whom are already skipping meals and using food banks in a struggle to make ends meet.

“‘Young Women’s Trust research shows that more than half of young women are worried about the future, often due to serious financial and housing pressures. Low pay and job insecurity, combined with rising costs, mean many are falling into debt, moving back in with their parents and putting their lives on hold.’”



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