By Daniel Hunter
Six in ten employers don’t offer any routes into their organisation for non-graduates. That’s according to new research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), launched today (Wednesday) at a Department for Work and Pensions Employer Forum hosted by the CBI.
The research is the latest output from the CIPD’s Learning to Work campaign, designed to encourage more employers to invest in tomorrow’s workforce.
The CIPD’s research, based on a survey of almost 800 employers, reveals that the majority of employers (71%) believe they have a role to play in tackling youth unemployment but a quarter of employers have not employed anyone aged 16-24 in the last 12 months, whether graduates or not, and only 56% plan to do so in the coming year.
The survey also underlines the CIPD’s concerns that too few employers are engaging with young people at school or college to build their employability skills or providing work experience placements, apprenticeships, internships or entry level jobs for young people.
The research suggests that some employers have negative perceptions of young people, which discourages them from investing in them. The good news, however, is that among employers that have recruited young people, perceptions of this untapped group of talent are positive. Nine out of ten employers who have recruited a young person are either very satisfied (26%) or fairly satisfied (65%) with the young people they have recruited.
In order to encourage more employers to tap into the benefits of recruiting young people, the CIPD’s report ‘The business case for investing in young people’, highlights a number of case studies that identify the various business imperatives that make young people a vital component of many employers’ workforce, as well as the practices needed to make it happen:
- The need to build a pipeline of talent for tomorrow’s workforce
- The benefits of employing a diverse workforce that reflects the organisation’s customer base
- The potential to strengthen the employer brand by demonstrating that the organisation is actively engaging with its community
- The cost benefits associated with investing in training and development at a young age
- How to build positive work experience programs and apprenticeships, and the best routes to working with schools and colleges, job centres and other partners to identify and attract young people.
“Employing young people has clear benefits to business and society, but there is some work to do in encouraging and supporting more employers to take on and develop young people," Peter Cheese, CEO at the CIPD, said.
"Addressing the gap between perceptions and reality is a key priority for the CIPD’s Learning to Work campaign - it’s not only fundamental to reducing youth unemployment and the long-term scarring effects it can have on young people, but it’s also essential in building our future skills base.
“The step change that is needed to improve education to work transitions will not be achieved through good will and government policy alone. Our research shows that many employers don’t always understand the benefits young people can bring to their organisation or have the right practices in place to bring on young people and give them the best chances of success.
“We need to make the business case crystal clear. We need to promote the best routes for young people in to employment, including apprenticeships, and highlight how employers can best engage with schools and colleges to work with young people in raising work awareness and employability skills.
"Government needs to continue to promote the issues and opportunities, as well as encourage businesses through funding schemes and other support mechanisms. The CIPD will continue in our efforts to support employers, making the case for employing young people, and shining a light on best practices.
"We hope that together we can change the hearts and minds of those employers who have for various reasons shied away from hiring and developing young people and reverse the negative trend of youth unemployment which started to grow long before the downturn.”
The CIPD’s Learning to Work campaign is designed to help employers understand why investing in young people is not just the right thing to do for society but also imperative to sustained business success. For those who want to do the right thing, for their business and for society, the CIPD will continue to provide practical guidance on how to make the workplace more accessible for young people — be that through apprenticeships, internships, work experience placements or greater engagement with schools and careers advice providers.
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