The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries.
This month sees the UK minimum wage rise by 1.2% to £5.80. The increase, announced by the government in May, is expected to ‘benefit’ over a million people.
However, an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal makes for sobering reading. The article reflects on the link between minimum wage increases and spiralling youth unemployment.
It argues successive minimum wage hikes in America- the most recent being the 70-cent raise introduced by the Obama government in July- have forced a huge number of young, low-skilled workers out of work.
It certainly is food for thought for policy makers in the UK. When employers are struggling to balance staff costs, young employees are usually the first to go. The UK does not want to emulate the recent record of American employment, where 25.9% of teenagers are currently unemployed.
The government claim that the modest increase will not force employers to start laying off young workers. Lets hope so.
Many commentators however, including the British Chamber of Commerce, have called specifically for a wage freeze as a means of maintaining job security for thousands of young employees around the UK.