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Intergenerational transmission of joblessness

Taking exams
Published: September 2012

Aim

We wanted to gauge whether household worklessness had a scarring effect on children and young people in their transition from school to work. We also wanted to identify whether there was a link between parental unemployment and a young person’s likelihood of being Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

Findings

On the whole it was difficult to ascribe the young people and children’s outcomes to parental worklessness alone, as there are a variety of other risk factors that are associated with coming from a home where neither parent works. However, while this relationship is not causal, there is an association.

  • Children growing up in workless households had poorer attainment in key stage 1 writing, reading, maths and science.
  • Children in workless families were more likely to be bullied, to bully others and be unhappy at school.
  • Young people from workless families were less likely to get 5 A-C GCSEs or apply to university.
  • Young people whose parents had two or three years of worklessness had an increased risk of being NEET.
  • There was a weak relationship between young people’s intentions to remain in education past age 16 and

Method

The research drew on evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE).

Read the report