‘Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus’, says CIPD

A mismatch in expectations between employers and young people is contributing to high levels of youth unemployment, according to a report published today by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Business in the Community.

The difference in expectations is, according to the CIPD, hindering young people’s access to the labour market and “fuelling a ticking time bomb” of skills shortages for UK businesses, which the CIPD said might be unwittingly hindering their access to young talent.

The report highlights a number of issues that the CIPD said are preventing young people from finding work.

For example, many employers demand experience from candidates, even for junior roles, which creates a “vicious cycle” for those young people who do not have access to work opportunities. This also leads to employers paying above the odds for skills they could have honed internally.

The CIPD also warned that a lack of feedback, or even acknowledgement, from employers after young candidates had applied for jobs can demotivate them and affect their confidence for future applications.

However, it pointed out that employers can find themselves overwhelmed by what it called “scattergun” application from young people who haven’t carried out sufficient research or tailored their applications for different roles.

The report also highlighted the lengthy and opaque nature of selection and recruitment processes and a failure to tailor interviews for inexperienced candidates, as well as poor careers advice in schools. In addition, a lack of support in the transition from education to work means many young people don’t know how to improve their chances of finding a job.

Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, said: “When it comes to recruitment, it can feel as though young people and employers are on completely different planets. Too many young people are struggling to find their first job, whereas many employers are finding it difficult to get the skills they need. This mismatch needs to be addressed, not only to reduce youth unemployment and the long-term impact it can have on young people, but also to ensure UK businesses are equipped with the right talent for the future.

“It is also clear that young people are not getting the careers advice and guidance they need to help make the right choices and understand how best to apply for jobs. Policy makers need to do more to ensure that careers advice and guidance are embedded into the national curriculum, with more support for young people during the transition between education and employment. This will ensure that young people are better prepared for the world of work and can do more to help themselves during the recruitment process.”

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