Youth Employment Concerns

As growth returns to the economy, thankfully youth unemployment levels have started to drop. Nevertheless, they are still high at 16.6% (Dec 2014). Parents are worried that their young 20 somethings won’t get decent jobs or they will have to take a much lower paid jobs unrelated to the qualifications they gained at university or college and that they won’t be able to become financially independent.  In 2015 a huge 49% of 20 – 24 year olds were still living at home. The Office of National Statistics reported at the end of 2014 year that almost half recent graduates in the UK were working in non graduate jobs.  Although in 2015 graduate employment prospects are looking better and graduate salaries appear to be on the increase (Association Graduate Recruiters cite an average of £26Kpa), competition remains high and employers can afford to be picky.

In 2015 Britain’s leading graduate employers received an average of 39 applications per post – an increase from 35 in 2008 and some of the major recruiters reported levels in excess of 160 applicants per post. Last summer we heard of 299 applicants for an intern post with a conservation organisation and 200 applicants for an account management post with a National youth charity – none of whom were called forward to interview as their CV’s didn’t match the specification!

Parents have said to us:

‘I worry that it will be hard for my son to get a foot on the ladder without either working for nothing or a very low wage’

(Parent of 21 year old dramatic arts graduate)

‘I’m concerned about a potential long stay at home before finding a job that pays well enough to rent a flat or house’

(Parent of 21 year old science graduate)

‘Because there are so many applicants for each job advertised that my children will not have that edge, confidence or knowledge that will make them stick out from the others’

(Parent of 18 year old history undergraduate and 21 year old geography graduate)

Employers have said to us:

Qualifications are not the whole story.  They tell us that they want more than the right qualifications.  They are looking for evidence of EMPLOYABILITY skills; such as working well in a team, leading, using initiative, solving problems, planning and organising both self and work, dealing with pressure, being resilient and most of all, demonstrating a positive work ethic.

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‘There is a mismatch between employers’ expectations of young people during the recruitment processes and a young person’s understanding of what is expected of them’ ‘81% of employers value soft skills as equal importance to the right qualification’

Employers are from Mars; Young people are from Venus’ CIPD report 2013

TrafalgarPD work with young people on a one to one basis and have co-developed The ARCUS Programme which runs one day workshops. In both cases, the support focuses on young people preparing to ‘bridge the gap’ between education and employment.  It sets the job finding myths straight, focuses on employability skills and what the individual needs to plan their futures and helps them prepare for work.

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