5 February 2015
New analysis published by the TUC today (Thursday) to coincide with National Voter Registration Day reveals that young people – who are currently the least likely to vote – are getting an especially rough deal on pay and job security.
The TUC says that unless young people register to vote, the problems they face could easily be ignored by politicians in the election.
The analysis found that first-time voters with full-time jobs are paid barely half the typical hourly rate. The median hourly rate for 18 to 21-year-olds is just £7.25, but for workers of all ages it is £13.08. Full-time workers aged between 22 and 29 years do better, but at £10.75 their typical hourly rate is still some way behind.
On average a third (34 per cent) of graduates who are employed in full-time work within six months of graduating work in non-professional jobs, meaning that many young people are struggling to find work that utilises the level of qualifications they have acquired.
Young people are also more likely to have insecure forms of employment – half of zero-hours contract workers are aged under 30.
Young people are currently the most under-represented group on the electoral register. So the TUC and trade unions are today taking part in the drive to add 250,000 new names to the register by encouraging people to sign up in the workplace.
The TUC says that if the voting rate for young people (aged 18 to 34) matched that of older voters (aged 35 and over), it would add four million votes to the election. This is an average of more than 11,000 votes in each constituency, which is enough to overturn the current majority in most constituencies.
The TUC and Bite the Ballot – a not-for-profit organisation campaigning to empower young voters – have distributed a Register Your Workplace handbook to union workplace representatives to help them increase voter registration amongst young people. During this week’s national voter registration drive and today’s National Voter Registration Day, union representatives are holding workplace events to sign young people onto the electoral register.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Young people get lower pay and less job security than other workers, and long-term youth unemployment has been much slower to fall than for other workers. But with less than 100 days to the election, we haven’t heard enough from politicians about the problems young people face like low pay, youth unemployment, high rents and rogue landlords. And if young people remain less likely to vote than older generations, politicians will continue to see them as an easy target for more austerity and will carry on ignoring their problems.”
Chair of the TUC Young Workers’ Forum Fern McCaffrey said: “If more young people decide to use the ballot box, we could bring about a political earthquake. If younger people register and vote as much as older generations, we have the power to decide the result in hundreds of seats.
“By registering to vote, we can warn politicians we are ready to use that power. We can make sure that our jobs and pay, our chance to buy a home, our chance to study without crippling debt – our future – is at the heart of this election.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Gap between youth median and national median hourly wages excluding overtime for UK full-time workers
Gap between youth median and national median hourly wages excluding overtime for UK part-time workers
Source: Annual Survey Hourly Earnings, 2014 Provisional Results
- TUC analysis of data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) found that 34.38 per cent of 2013 graduates who are employed in full-time work within six months are in occupations classified as non-professional.
- TUC analysis of official date from the Labour Force Survey found that half of zero-hours contract workers are under 30-years-old. More information is in the TUC report Decent Jobs Deficit (December 2014) which can be found at http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/DecentJobsDeficitReport.pdf
- The TUC estimate for analysis of four million additional votes from young people used general election turnout data for 2010 (Electoral Commission); Census 2011 population data (Office for National Statistics); and the report Great Britain's Electoral Registers 2011 (Electoral Commission). It found that at the 2010 election the voting rate – combining both registration rate and turnout – was 33 per cent for 18 to 34-year-olds and 64 per cent for those aged 35 and over. For 18 to 34-year-olds to have matched the 64 per cent voting rate in 2010, it would have required 4,260,000 more of them to vote. The full calculations can be found at http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC%20analysis%20of%20young%20peoples%20missing%20votes%20GE2010.xls
- Register Your Workplace: A ‘How to’ Guide on Engaging, Educating and Registering Young People in your Workplace can be found at http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Register%20Your%20Workplace.pdf
- More information about National Voter Registration Day can be found at http://bitetheballot.co.uk/
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
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