Young worker’s challenge #5: weak opportunities for progression
In comparison to young employees in general, Britain’s young core workers find getting ahead at work harder. For example, they’re less likely to be a manager.
I wrote earlier in the month about the lack of training opportunities for Britain’s young core workers. This is one reason why young workers are often unable to progress at work and there are sadly plenty of other factors too.
The sectors that almost half of all young core workers work in (retail, care and hospitality) don’t tend to actively help their staff get ahead at work. There tends to be a general lack of investment in workers in these sectors.
A fundamental problem is that there aren’t enough jobs to progress into. Mid-level jobs used to be stepping stones, allowing those in entry-level work to progress through promotion. With the loss of these jobs, many jobs have become dead ends. Also, as more people have gone to university, more graduates have taken up the management roles that used to be held by non-graduates.
Even when there is a rare opportunity to progress, there can often be no real reason to try and get promoted in the types of jobs young core workers have. For example, in cafés, you might take on loads more responsibility and have to work much longer hours as a supervisor, but only be paid a little more (20-50p per hour). It often doesn’t seem worth it.
The overall picture shows that there are few opportunities for Britain’s young core workers to progress, and limited benefits it they do. This means reaching more secure, better paid work is very unlikely; instead they are likely to become trapped in low pay for long periods of time.
Britain’s young core workers are the voices that are missing from our movement. They are aspirational, dynamic and want to be successful. But they are often trapped in low income work without the opportunity to progress or achieve what they want.
We’ve identified ten challenges facing Britain’s young core workers, and challenge unions to meet them. Check back here for the next challenge and read the full report.