The Young Women’s Trust has conducted research looking at the experiences of young women in the current labour market.

The pandemic has disproportionately affected both young people in general and women economically. Official data shows that unemployment rates amongst young women were particularly high during each lockdown period and are higher overall than in 2019.

Even before the pandemic, there is evidence to suggest that young women faced specific barriers to employment and are more likely to be classed as ‘economically inactive’ than young men. This is often a result of caring responsibilities, health issues or a lack of available opportunities. The impact is felt most strongly amongst those with multiple intersectional experiences, including: –

  • Care experienced young women.
  • Those with long-term physical or mental health problems.
  • Young women from racially minoritised communities.

The Young Women’s Trust heard from over 1,000 young women aged 18 to 30 about their experiences of unemployment, navigating inadequate opportunities and claiming benefits. They asked young women to tell us about the challenges they are experiencing, how they are impacting their lives, and how they would like to be supported to overcome them.

The findings

It was found that: –

  • The lack of flexible and accessible job opportunities is preventing young women from entering the workforce.
  • Young women from minoritised groups face additional challenges and barriers when looking for work or claiming benefits.
  • The benefits system is difficult to navigate, and many young women are struggling to live comfortably on the benefits they receive.
  • The impacts of unemployment, underemployment and claiming benefits are pervasive across young women’s lives and takes a toll on good mental health.
  • Young women do not feel listened to or supported by the government, and many do not feel confident about their future prospects.
  • But more positively, young women show incredible resilience, hope and ambition, even when systems or services do not always give them reason to.

To see the full report from the Young Women’s Trust, click here.