The prime importance of jobs for women and young adults

Lesley Brennan

19 October 2013

Two more sets of employment data about Dundee were published this week by the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

The regular monthly numbers for those claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) show that there were over 4,700 in Dundee in September.

 Percentage-wise that puts the city’s total at 4.8 per cent

Accompanying them were the latest, more accurate “model –based “ unemployment figures from the ONS show an estimated figure of 7,700 unemployed in Dundee for the period July 2012 -June of this year.

This represents a rate of 11 per cent.

Job Seekers Allowance figures are almost always a good deal lower than the “model- based” figures

The JSA rate in Dundee in the period July 2012 to June 2013 never reached 11 percent, and never rose above 6.2 per cent.

This strongly suggests that the current level of unemployment in Dundee will be significantly higher than 4,700.

Despite these gloomy figures, Dundee is a city that possesses the skills that it needs to rebuild and renew itself, a city that has a great potential to attract new investment.

Consider, for example,  the upward shift in the number and the percentage of people in Dundee with skill at the level of  HND, Degree and post-graduate degree or their equivalent .

In the period from 2004-2012, their number in Dundee has risen emphatically from just over 27,000 to 35,400 ( from just over 30 percent of the adult working population to almost 38 per cent, and consistently higher than the overall UK rate )

Generally speaking, the higher the level of skills, then the prospects of both employment and improved living standards of living are better.

Just for this article, let me select two social groups in the city that would attract  particular attention in the city’s regeneration. (  I shall refer to other groups in similar future articles)

The first is women because as recent decades have demonstrated , the earnings of working women have been a decisive factor in increasing living standards.

Here the employment rate of women in Dundee falls below other neighbouring  areas.

Dundee’s female employment rate for women is just under 63 per cent.

In Angus it is almost 71 per cent,  Fife just above 63 per cent, Perth and Kinross just under 69 per cent. In Aberdeen it is 69 per cent.

The second group are young adults.

When David Cameron came Prime Minister in 2010 there were 35 people in the 18-24 age group in Dundee who had been out of work for over a year. Today that figure has climbed from 35 to 280.

This age group as a whole accept the need to continually upgrade their skills to be a member of today’s workforce and to contribute to their city’s economic health.

However these are the people whose young adult lives  have felt the full force of the austerity cuts, and for the sake of their future, determined action on jobs is of prime importance.

Getting people back to work can do much for the economy.

It can reduce the bill for unemployment.

It can increase the Gross Domestic Product

But most of all getting people back to work restores their dignity, provides them with the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and strengthens the personal and social bonds within a community.