Tech sector raises hopes for young jobseekers

A large uptake in UK tech companies hiring young people is paving the way for economic recovery after the loss of jobs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One in six new roles in tech are aimed at young people aged between 16 and 24-years' old, which is equal to around 20,000 job openings, new research from job search engine Adzuna has found.

The 20,302 advertised job vacancies in tech Adzuna deemed suitable for young people are due to the level of skill and experience required.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said: “Surging sectors, like tech, are bringing fresh opportunity and hope for young jobseekers.

“Through the Kickstart Scheme, apprenticeships and traineeships, these companies are helping bring our Plan for Jobs to life, boosting the long-term job prospects of a generation that is capable of so much as we build back better.”

Over 60% of UK tech companies said they plan to offer placements on the Kickstart scheme in 2021.

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The tech sector could provide career opportunities for young people who have found themselves struggling to start a career due to the effect the pandemic has had on businesses.

Data from the Office of National Statistics found youth unemployment was at 14.4% between October and December 2020, with 284,000 fewer 16 to 24-year-olds in employment than in January to March 2020, the quarter before the pandemic.

Adzuna’s research also found advertised graduate vacancies were 52% lower than this time last year with 7,104 openings available, down from 14,938.

Overall apprenticeship openings have also slipped 29% year-on-year to 20,794.

Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said this is the toughest jobs market that we have faced in a generation, with young people particularly hard hit.

He said: “Overall three fifths of the total fall in employment has been among those aged under 25, despite them only accounting for around a tenth of all of those in work.

“There are also worrying signs of rising long-term youth unemployment, which is up by a third in the last year alone.”

Wilson said he thought the Kickstart scheme is a great opportunity for firms to help to do something about youth unemployment.

“The scheme could create new jobs for young people that are at risk of long-term unemployment,” he said.

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shown almost 150,000 Kickstart roles have already been approved.