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Young people face huge barriers with recruitment processes

Campaign launches to end disadvantage in youth recruitment and help companies attract the best young talent

  • Negative experiences with recruitment hurt corporate reputations with one in three young people finding the process of applying for jobs difficult. Of those, one in five are put off that company and one in ten off the sector completely.
  • Research shows the opportunity to develop and further their career is the most important to young people
  • Colleagues make all the difference; 36% want to work with friendly/helpful people, 52% cite a good experience to starting work is down to colleagues

Business in the Community (BITC) is launching Future Proof, a new campaign and framework, backed by the City & Guilds Group to help businesses break down the barriers young people face in their recruitment processes. Future Proof will work with businesses to make processes more inclusive, fair and transparent, as well as creating better first job opportunities for all young people, to help protect businesses’ reputations and build a workforce with the right skills now and in the future.

At the same time, a survey of 4,000 young people (18-24 year olds), commissioned by the City & Guilds Group and BITC, highlights the damage to businesses that a broken recruitment process can cause, not only turning people off individual brands, but entire industries. A shocking one in five (22%) young people who had a bad experience of a recruitment process, were put off a company completely, while one in ten was put off a whole sector, impacting future career decisions.

Young people face a number of barriers in recruitment processes, which were highlighted in the survey;

  • the most common barrier (57%), was a lack of previous experience;
  • followed by 41% saying location of job;
  • 28% not having the right qualifications;
  • and 18% citing  the costs of the process.

A report by BITC in April 2015, highlighted this disparity as only 39% of companies say they ask for no experience for entry-level jobs – meaning business are missing out by having a narrow recruitment pool.

The survey also highlights the top three qualities young people look for in their career, aspirations are high; 38% of young people want the opportunity to develop and further their career. Colleagues are also important, 36% want to work with friendly/helpful people and 33% want to fee valued.

Irrespective of pay, what are the most important things for you to have in a job?
Having opportunities to develop and further my career
Working with friendly/ helpful colleagues / managers
Feeling valued
Being recognised and rewarded for the work I do
Feeling part of a team
Having sufficient training
Good morale
Having the materials and equipment to do my job effectively
The additional benefits and perks you receive
Being able to express my views
Having a mentor / line manager
Opportunity for social events
Having regular performance appraisals

The three most important things to give young people a good start in the workplace were staff being friendly and approachable (52%), clear induction (43%), then having a good understanding of the business and what was expected of them (37%).

Why did you have a good experience of starting your current job? Why did you have a poor experience of starting your current job?  
The other staff were friendly and approachable 52% There was no clear induction process (e.g. I was not introduced to the team and who I would be working with, there was no overview of my role, or tour of the building etc) 53%
There was a clear induction process (e.g. introduced to the team and who I would be working with, overview of my role, tour of the building etc) 43% I didn’t know what to do on day one 38%
I had an understanding of the business and what was expected of me 37% Not provided with an initial training schedule 36%
The job was what I expected 35% The job was different to what I had been expecting 32%
Given an initial training schedule 28% Lack of understanding of the business and what was expected of me 31%
I knew exactly what to do on day one 25% The other staff were not friendly or approachable 23%
Appointed mentor/ line manager 25% No mentor / line manager 17%

Employers also need to be aware of the changing landscape of how young people approach the job search process; 73% search online for jobs, just 20% use the job centre. Traditional sources such as print newspapers are only used by 20% of young people and just 2% find this method useful.

If you were looking for a new job, which of the following would you be most likely to do?
Search online (e.g. google search, job listings website)
Go direct to a company (e.g. via website, sending CV, visiting, etc)
Go to a recruitment agency
Ask a friend or family member if their employer has any jobs
Go to a Jobcentre
Use social media
Look in a newspaper

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, comments; “Despite shifts in demographics and policy incentives to employ young people, too many businesses fail to invest in the next generation of workers. This is reflected in the stubbornly high youth unemployment rate as compared to the rest of the population. The unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds is 13.7% compared to a UK wide rate of 5.1%. As the competition to attract and recruit young people increases, businesses will lose out unless they change their recruitment processes.

Christine Hodgson Chairman Capgemini UK and the Careers & Enterprise Company comments; “Companies need to see hiring young people as part of a long term investment. With a growing skills gap; all businesses need a strategy for securing strong future talent.”