Campaign launches to help businesses end disadvantage in youth recruitment and protect their futures

  • Research shows young people face huge barriers putting them at a disadvantage in recruitment  processes
  • 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.

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 on the value that young recruits can bring to their business. However 42% are now allowing candidates to demonstrate transferable skills not necessarily gained through work.

Difficult recruitment processes are also creating another issue; a lack of confidence which is impacting on future job applications. This has wider social and economic implications for society, limiting young people’s career aspirations and development. One in three found the job application process difficult. Of those that found it difficult, worryingly 44% ended up losing confidence. This led to 26% saying they were less likely to apply for other jobs.

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.

“Through Future Proof, we want businesses to take a look at their practices, be honest about how youth friendly they really are – and commit to changing for the better. It’s time to act now before they miss out on the skilled, talented individuals they need for their organisations to grow in the future.”

Grace Mehanna, Campaign Director at Business in the Community adds; “We applaud the recent announcements from companies scrapping set UCAS points and A-level grades for entry level roles. Through our campaign we want to build on the great work that has been done and work with businesses to help shine a light on the skills they need and open their eyes to the potential of young people, not just looking at those with good academic qualifications and previous experience. The shift in demographics and apprenticeship policy provides businesses with an ideal opportunity to rethink how they recruit young people. We believe this will ensure businesses have a workforce with the right skills, now and in the future.”

Businesses need to make their recruitment processes more youth friendly to future proof their businesses. To tackle the issue, the Future Proof campaign brings together the best of BITC and the City & Guilds Group’s experience, networks and influence to enable real change in the way that businesses view and recruit young people. The online Youth Employment Framework provides everything businesses need to help them:

  • Open up access to quality entry level job opportunities for young people just starting out
  • Make job criteria more youth friendly, by looking at the skills and attitudes their business needs, rather than focusing so heavily on previous experience and qualifications.

Businesses can also get involved through taking part in one of the events, forums or webinars that Business in the Community will be running across the UK.

The Future Proof website can be found at http://futureproof.bitc.org.uk

The following spokespeople are available for interview;

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group

Grace Mehanna, Campaign Director at Business in the Community