2013 - the year in review: For most young people, the 'recovery' was anything but

A competitive job market meant that many young people were forced to take low-skilled, poorly paid roles

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The Independent Online

What will you remember from 2013? Margaret Thatcher’s death? Nelson Mandela’s? Maybe the birth of Prince George will be your standout memory, or perhaps Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbledon will be your “where were you when?” moment.

Significant deaths, royal births and sporting successes aside, 2013 was also the year one graduate was so desperate for a job, he agreed to dance to “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk during an interview.

Although employment across the country has grown by 1.1 million since early 2010, statistics show almost half of the UK’s recent graduates are working in non-graduate jobs and recent figures from the Department for Work and Pensions showed that 1.09 million people between the ages of 16 and 24 are not in work, education or training.

I posted a message on my Facebook profile last week, asking my twentysomething friends what the worst thing about 2013 was. The response was unanimous: job hunting. One friend, who graduated with a BSc in physics and astrophysics this year, told me he was working in a supermarket.

Economic recovery might be gaining momentum in parts of Britain, but young people are still feeling the aftershocks of the downturn. A competitive job market meant that many young people were forced to take low-skilled, poorly paid roles, tumbling haphazardly into jobs as nannies, bar staff, or shop assistants, despite earning first-class degrees from Russell Group universities.

When the most intellectually stimulating part of your working week is making sure your puny paycheque adds up, it’s hard not to regret spending upwards of £21,000 studying classics, biology or German. Others find themselves recruited as interns, working for free. Interns labour under the illusion that there will be a job for them at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but only the wealthy can afford to sustain themselves on the paltry (or non-existent) expenses provided.

Plus, according to the Chancellor, the lucky few that do find a job will be in line for their second hip replacement before they get even a sniff of their pensions.

Fortunately, 2013 wasn’t all doom and gloom. The formation of supergroup McBusted, a conflation of boy bands McFly and Busted, put a smile on Noughties kids’ faces. The downside? None of us will be able to afford tickets to their UK tour next year.