UK unemployment falls, but government warns businesses need to invest more in young talent

IN: Business news

News that the number of UK residents in full-time employment rose by 113,000 between September and November 2012 has been met with optimism by the UK business community.

However, economic specialists warn that the increase, reported by the Office of National Statistics, belies a setback in youth unemployment that could lead to a major skills gap if not addressed.

"The number of unemployed 18-24 year olds has increased, whereas unemployment in age groups 25-64 has fallen. If this trend continues we risk a permanent scar on the labour market," emphasises Mark Beatson, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

In response to the news of youth unemployment, many organisations have urged UK businesses to take a more committed approach to investing in young workers in order to nurture future talent for the benefit of the UK economy. Positively, signals imply UK SMEs are eager to offer development opportunities for young people, with 77 per cent of respondents in a recent Guardian poll suggesting they intend to offer apprenticeships in 2013.

Unfortunately though, for a significant proportion of smaller businesses, financial uncertainty may prevent this intent from ever translating into the creation of jobs. As uncovered in Aldermore's campaign to Lift the Lid on UK business banking, many SMEs face inconsistent cash flow. And given the mainstream British banking sector's hesitance at extending temporary credit to these businesses, many are being forced to cut any unnecessary costs, curtailing investment in vital areas including professional development.

Greater support for the UK SME community is therefore a crucial precursor to countering falling youth employment figures, leading Aldermore to pledge a renewed commitment to championing the needs of UK SMEs. Aldermore contributed £228 million worth of credit to British businesses in 2012 through the government's Funding for Lending scheme and intend to continue providing SMEs with vital investment capital in 2013. On a more widespread level, the bank is also working closely alongside government to push for further political action to deliver fairer financial conditions for SMEs.

Contact Aldermore for more information on the bank's on-going campaign to enable small British businesses to achieve their goals for the future.

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