Young black men have a higher unemployment rate than any other group of young people and the research shows that they have mixed but mainly poor experiences of support from Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers. They also feel isolated from their peers and unsupported in their efforts to ‘do the right thing’
The research was commissioned by Trust for London and was launched on the same day as our Moving On Up Initiative aimed at helping young black men into work.
The research shows that young black men in London believe that racism and negative stereotyping are the main reasons for their high unemployment rate. They also believe that black male business role models in their communities are important and access to social and professional networks would improve their employment opportunities.
‘Society needs to change. People need to stop thinking that all black men are gang members (Young black male, discussion group participant, Haringey)
The report’s action plan contains 21 suggestions in four key areas:
- Establishing a common goal. The goal should be to increase employment rates for young black men so that there is no disparity between young black men and all other young men
- Improving support for young black male job seekers. This requires localised and personalised support delivered by advisers who understand the barriers and who care about getting young black men into work.
- Creating more pathways into employment for young black men. We need to create more networks and pathways through which young black men can meet employers, gain work experience, develop career aspirations, secure employment and set up their own business.
- Challenging the negative stereotypes which society attaches to young black men. We need to help employers to recognise these stereotypes for what they are and to avoid making recruitment decisions which are influenced by these.