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Youth unprepared for work

Young people need to be supported in their transitions from education to work with better careers advice, more integrated work experience opportunities and greater employer involvement in the education system.

Upgrading skills and boost productivity: European policymakers need to ensure that the existing workforce has more and better in-work training and lifelong learning if firms' skills needs are to be met. This will support workers to progress (and earn higher wages), and allow firms to boost productivity and profits.

Matching training to skills needed: Existing workers need greater support to continually upgrade their skills, with stronger incentives for employers to invest in their workforces. For those whose skills become obsolete, retraining and reskilling opportunities are needed for workers to fulfil their potential, and develop the skills that new industries require.

Catherine Colebrook, IPPR Chief Economist, said: Europe has struggled to exit recession in the wake of the global financial crisis, and this is reflected in its labour market performance in recent years. While countries such as the UK and Germany have relatively strong labour markets, in southern European countries there is a real risk that long-term unemployment becomes entrenched even as their economies return to growth. European economies need to create more high-productivity, well-paid jobs and to ensure that its workforce has the skills that employers will be demanding in future.

“For the UK, the task for policy makers will be to ensure that the UK continues to invest in developing the skills it needs to compete globally. It is striking that adult participation in education and training in the UK has fallen since 2008 by more than in any other country, at a time when participation has increased across most of Europe. Investment in the country’s skills should be a priority for the Chancellor: instead skills funding looks likely to be cut drastically in the forthcoming Autumn Statement, which will inevitably have knock-on effects to our productive potential.”

Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase & Co, said: “Too often people are unable to compete for work because their qualifications and skills do not match what’s required for available jobs. This mismatch reduces opportunities for economic mobility and business productivity. By supporting solutions that equip people with training and skills employers need, J.P. Morgan and its partners are helping boost skill levels, progression and, consequently, wages to ensure the economic recovery is widely shared.”