Key findings from 'Youth Jobs Gap: The Employment Gap in London'

Our Youth Jobs Gap series has been all about learning new things. From the impact of disadvantage on your chances of being out of work and education, to the fact there’s more to it than qualifications, our reports have helped develop a better understanding of young people who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) than ever before.

I’m delighted that we’ve had the opportunity to partner with London Councils for this eighth report, which turns the spotlight on London. With excellent schools and a thriving labour market, it would be easy to assume that London is sorted in terms of employment opportunities for young people. But looking below the surface, we see a much more complicated picture. Here are three of the most interesting things we’ve learned from the data.

1. The NEET rate varies dramatically between different boroughs

Lr Chart 1

In this chart, each vertical line represents one of the 32 London boroughs. Those on the right have higher NEET rates, and those on the left, lower NEET rates.

People often worry about differences between regions – say London versus the north or a national average. But London is not one place, it’s many places - and those places are different. Indeed, comparing Lewisham on the far right of this chart to Bromley on the far left, a young person is just over half as likely to be NEET in the former as the latter.

We need to think about place in a much more granular way.

2. A borough can perform well or badly, depending on which measures you look at

Lr Chart 2

In this chart, each horizontal line represents one of the 32 London boroughs. Here NEET rates are broken down by socioeconomic disadvantage; except for the first line at the top, the NEET rate for young people from a disadvantaged background is higher and therefore on the right, the NEET rate for their better-off peers is on the left. The line itself represents the difference – the Employment Gap.

As you can see, there’s different types of boroughs in London and a mix of good and bad news. Looking at the shorter lines, there are some with low employment gaps lower down the chart but with higher NEET rates . There are also some places near the top of the chart, with low NEET rates but fairly large employment gaps. Almost every local authority has a mix of positives and negatives in the data.

So there is no simple “good place to grow up / bad place to grow up” from this data.

3. There are many things that don’t seem to have an obvious explanation

Lr Chart 3

In this chart, each vertical line represents one of the 32 London boroughs. This chart looks at access for apprenticeships for similarly qualified young people, with disadvantaged young people more likely to do an apprenticeship if the score is above 1, and less likely to do an apprenticeship if the score is below 1.

There is no ready-made response for why there is such a spread in this chart. In some places, young people from a disadvantaged background are much more likely to begin an apprenticeship than their better off peers. In other places, they are less likely. This isn’t about qualifications, which are taken into account. We need to ask more questions, dig deeper and join up to get a full understanding of the young people.

You can read our full report, including a summary of the performance across 25 different measures for each borough by clicking the button below. If you have questions (or thoughts) we’d love to hear from you – you can email us on or join the conversation on twitter using #YouthJobsGap.

Samantha Windett is the Director of Policy at Impetus.

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