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Academics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Exeter have found young workers are twice as likely to have lost their jobs compared to older employees. 

One in 10 young people lost their job during covid-19 pandemic, new survey shows

More than one in 10 people aged 16 to 25 have lost their job, and just under six in 10 have seen their earnings fall since the coronavirus pandemic began, new research shows. 

The study is further evidence that young people, those aged 25 and under, are suffering substantial and sustained losses in their employment and education.

Academics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Exeter have found young workers are twice as likely to have lost their jobs compared to older employees. Employment and earnings losses are more pronounced for women, the self-employed and those who grew up in a poor family.

The survey, included in a new report - Generation COVID and Social Mobility: Evidence and Policy - published today by the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) shows just four in 10 school pupils received full-time schooling during April, with a quarter receiving no teaching at all. In early October only around six in 10 pupils were experiencing full-time teaching.

During April, nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of private school pupils were benefitting from full school days - nearly twice the proportion of state school pupils (38 per cent).

The survey also reveals wide inequalities occurring in higher education. University students from the lowest income backgrounds lost 52 per cent of their normal teaching hours as a result of lockdown, but those from the highest income groups suffered a smaller loss of 40 per cent.

A total of 63 per cent of the university students who took part in the study said their wellbeing has been affected by the pandemic, 62 per cent said their long-term plans have been affected, and 68 per cent said they believed their future educational achievement will be affected by coronavirus.

These initial findings come from the LSE-CEP social mobility survey of around 10,000 people who were surveyed during September and October 2020. These are included in the report alongside analysis of Understanding Society (USoc) national household panel data from April 2020.

Overall, 5.4 per cent of people who took part in the research said they had lost their job, a further 7.3 per cent reported that they were still in work, but working zero hours meaning 12.7 per cent were workless. There was a higher rate of worklessness for those aged 16 to 25 (18.3 per cent) than for those aged 26 to 65 (11.9 per cent).

Professor Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter and report co-author, said: “We are seeing large and sustained losses in education for school pupils and university students in the wake of the pandemic, with those from lower-income backgrounds particularly suffering. The big danger for pupils is that they suffer permanent educational scarring - missing out on key grades that can shape future life prospects.”

Professor Stephen Machin, director of the CEP and report co-author, said: “These are unprecedented hits to the labour market for young adults in particular. There is a real concern that people who have lost their jobs are moving onto trajectories heading to long-term unemployment, the costs of which are substantial.”

Andrew Eyles, research economist at the Centre for Economic Performance, said: “Our research findings of substantial and continuing education loss add to growing evidence that disadvantaged students have fallen behind their more privileged peers due to differences in school provision, and the stark home learning divide in study space, computers and internet connectivity and access to paid tutoring.”

Pupils were judged to have had full school days in April if parents reported four or more lessons (either online or offline) or five or more hours schooling.

In the autumn survey, participants were asked what percentage of their normal teaching hours they received. In September and October 2020 parents reported one in five pupils were off school, with six in 10 pupils benefitting from full schooling.

A total of 9 per cent of parents reported paying for private tutoring during lockdown. Parents in the highest quartile of incomes were over four times as likely to pay for private tutoring during lockdown than those in the lowest quartile of incomes (15.7 per cent compared with 3.8 per cent).

This research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19.

This research will feature on BBC One’s Panorama programme at 7.30pm tonight (Monday 26 October).

The full report is available here: Generation COVID and Social Mobility: Evidence and Policy

Date: 26 October 2020

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