Do you agree with Jamie Oliver?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
February 22, 2011, 10:26 PM GMT+0

Over half of the British public think young people are not prepared to work hard, and agree with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s recent comments about young people’s lack of work ethic, our poll for the Sunday Times reveals. However, most do not blame young people’s attitude for high youth unemployment, feeling that current economic problems are to blame instead.

  • 62% think that young people in Britain today are not prepared to work hard
  • Compared to 26% who feel that they are willing to put in the work
  • 65% agree with Jamie Oliver’s comment that young people today are ‘embarrassingly wet’
  • 18% disagree with him
  • However, the majority (57%) consider today’s high levels of youth unemployment to be caused by a shortage of jobs and difficult economic conditions
  • Compared to 31% who thought it was a result of 16-24 year olds being lazy, uneducated or not putting in enough effort
  • Indeed, most Brits (68%) disagree with Jamie Oliver over his claim that young people should ‘be willing to work seven 18-hour days’ a week in this current climate
  • Just 24% think young people should have to put in such hours

A betrayed generation?

Official statistics have recently brought to light the record breaking numbers of 16-24 year olds who are currently unemployed, with one in five young people now jobless, compared to 7.9% of the general population. Celebrity chef and mentor Jamie Oliver, who works with young people in many of his restaurants as well as through his most recent television venture ‘Dream School’, drew controversy to the situation last weekend, stating that he finds young people today ‘embarrassingly wet’ and unwilling to work the extra hours needed to prove themselves in today’s economic climate.

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, has accused the Prime Minister, David Cameron, of ‘betraying a whole generation of young people’ by scrapping the Future Jobs Fund and other measures that aimed to help Britain’s youth such as the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA). However, David Cameron said that the problem was being tackled under the Government’s new Work Programme, which has already seen over 170 contracts submitted from over 30 organisations. He also pointed out that youth unemployment was a long-term issue that had been causing concern for over a decade.

See the survey details and full results (part of our weekly poll for The Sunday Times)