Guest Post

The jobs are out there! Why is no one taking them?

I saw a news story on the BBC website this morning saying that 20.5% of Britain’s youth are unemployed and out of full time education and I started wondering what the cause of this was.

There are, I believe, plenty of jobs available for those that want them. They may not be the highest paid or most glamorous jobs imaginable but they are there and I think it’s safe to say that it’s easier to climb the ladder with your foot on a rung than on the floor.

So why is the unemployment rate so high?

A cynical part of me thinks it’s due to unrealistic expectations. So many people these days come out of education with the belief that they will be able to, essentially, walk into a job that they want on a high salary. The careers guidance offered to many young people serves to reinforce this and doesn’t paint an accurate picture of how competitive the modern jobs market is. But is this something we can fix? We want our children to work hard in school and aim to become well paid, responsible, professional adults, telling them that even after 3 or more gruelling years at university they may then find themselves flipping burgers or stacking shelves because there are no graduate positions for engineering or business graduates unless they want to move hundreds of miles isn’t likely to motivate them to do so. Ultimately though this leads to people holding out hope of getting their ideal job at the expense of taking a job that will, if nothing else, yield a pay check each month and provide some real world experience.

I don’t know ho much truth there is in this, but it does frustrate me to walk down a busy high street seeing windows full of help wanted signs and then to see rising unemployment statistics and lengthening unemployment lines.


  1. This is rubbish. Most poorly-paid, ‘unglamorous’ jobs only lead to more of the same. Starting at the bottom of a profession is different.

    When I left college with a good degree in the dire employment landscape administered by Thatcher’s government, I showed a willingness to work in any number of ‘rubbish’ jobs – cleaner in an old people’s home, factory worker, admin assistant in offices. A career path led from none of them.

    It was only by going to the other side of the world (New Zealand), to gain a foothold in a profession that my career came to anything. Obviously, financially, this is not an option open to many of today’s unemployed youth – and NZ is less open to incomers these days.

    I would say to the author what I would say to every neo-con who says that the jobless only have themselves to blame; go and live on a Council estate in a deprived area, with no mobility, poor benefits, no work experience and see how easy it will be to get ANY job, never mind a gateway role. Stick at it for a year, two years and see how happy/motivated you are at the end of it.

    Obviously, there are ‘professional dole bludgers’ who know how to play the system and are perfectly happy with their lot. They are few and far between, though, despite the shrill outpourings of the Daily Express and Mail.

    Get a grip and write some sense!

  2. Well Dan, was not sure how to react here.. It seems that you did get off your arse and made something with your life!

    I think you missed the point, you get out there take a job and get on with it, it is the experience of work that makes you. I interviewed many graduates who believe it was below them, but many that did made it.

    I remember I started washing dishes for a large company, why because I didn’t want to claim unemployment benefit and have never done. It is also worth noting, I am not a dish washer or work for that company 😉 .

    I didn’t not grow up on a council estate, but I know Alan Sugar did!

    Work at whatever level is experience, it is how you use that experience that counts. May be you will hit the jackpot at the beginning or it enables you to buy a suit and better yourself or maybe not the choice is yours.

  3. I see the authors point about some graduates being on a high horse but Dan also has a point – Employees these days expect employees for entry-level jobs to have degrees and experience and references. It’s a dog-eat-dog system and it’s only getting worse.

  4. As a graduate myself, I can see the point you are making. I spent 4 years working hard and graduating with 2 degrees. I had been told that with the extra qualifications I would walk into the job I wanted, but when I finished my finals and needed money – I took the first job I could find that would pay my bills – and concentrated on searching for a job I wanted to do around that.

    I’m now doing what I spent all those years studying to be.

    I agree with the author – there is no reason for educated people to be out of work – graduates in particular CAN find work – even if it is something that is low paid and not leading towards the career they had hoped for. At the end of the day – they are using their skills and gaining experience and getting paid!! A low paid job looks better on your CV than a “career break” after uni in which you did nothing.

  5. most of these jobs are not enough to pay the bills you might have?
    Rent ,mortgage etc etc…………
    even if doing sevearlo them they dont pay enough……
    volantary work is ok if you dont have to live???

    I am sick and tired of idiots like this saying there are plenty of jobs out there……………
    ok well pack in the one you have now and go and see if you can get a half decent one then that will pay your way???
    i guarantee you wont!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. “I don’t know ho much”
    It frustrates me to see an online journalist issuing directives to young people in this manner, especially when the journalist in question cannot spell the word ‘how’!

  7. really there are jobs out there are there, sure there are when was the last time the author of this looked for a gateway entry job, i don’t have a degree i had to leave education at 16 and find work, i know my way round building/repairing p.c’s, active directory just with no pieces of paper, try finding work now even at the bottom rung is a joke most of the jobs go to people with degress and good for them but not so good for people who have worked in warehouse for 4 years at night to pay the bills, show me a entry level job in IT that isn’t requiring you to have a degree or that actually phones you back or even turns round and says no but thanks and i shall be shocked, 800 entry level positions i have applied for so far in the last 7 months 4 replies no interviews 796 no awnsers.

  8. As a provider of and staffing services, I understand the frustration of employment seekers who have graduated with their degrees in hopes of landing their dream job and realizing that it doesn’t happen that easy. The truth of the matter is their are jobs out there, it is a matter of taking what you can at the moment. It is better to be employed than unemployed especially at these times.

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