Young people in the labour market

The labour market for young people continues to be challenging as employers may be risk averse and favour the benefits of experience over potential at all levels of qualification.

We have a long tradition of researching the youth labour market from school leavers to graduates and understand what employers are looking for, and their approaches to recruitment.

We also explore and assess what the education and training system at all levels can do to support young people’s entry to an ever more competitive labour market.


Our work has spanned all aspects of apprenticeships, summarising knowledge and good practice, evaluating schemes, advising policymakers, exploring specific issues such as gender inequality, reviewing the reforms, exploring funding and incentives that aim to increase employer engagement, gathering the views of young people and comparing national approaches and their impact.

Contact: Becci Newton

Our work in this area

Transitions from education to employment

How young people make the transition from school to work or further study, and how successfully they make it, can have a major effect on lifetime potential. The choices they make and the ways in which these can be influenced can help shape a more productive and equal society.

We have a considerable track record in researching the factors and policy interventions that influence these transitions. We have also completed studies into how young people can develop employability skills and attributes in education settings that will help their future transitions.

Contact: Becci Newton

Our work in this area

Effects of disadvantage

The recent recession hit young people hard across the developed world. Those young people facing additional sources of disadvantage (due to their skill levels, their family circumstances, or their personal characteristics) have had even more negative experiences.

Our wider research on disadvantage and how it can be alleviated includes studies to understand its impact on the young and what policies, practices and approaches might help. Relevant projects include our study for Centrepoint into how current policies will affect the most disadvantaged young people, as well as an evaluation of support offered by Jobcentre Plus to young people not in education, employment or training.

Contact: Becci Newton

IES experts

Becci Newton

Joy Williams

Kari Hadjivassiliou

Becci Newton
Associate Director
Joy Williams
Research Fellow
Kari Hadjivassiliou
Principal Research Fellow

Related projects

Involving young people in volunteering: careers research review
The Careers & Enterprise Company

Evaluation of the new Jobcentre Plus approach to providing support for 16-17 year olds
Department for Work and Pensions

Research into tackling unemployment among disadvantaged young people

Evaluation of the Apprenticeships Trailblazers
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The impact of STEMNET’s programmes on young people’s employability skills