Trousers worn at half mast; mystifying slang and the cult of Justin Bieber will probably be puzzling to anyone born before 1990. Naturally, this is a two way street. Those born after 1990 may struggle to comprehend the attraction of Star Wars; the joy of slippers or even the enduring appeal of Desert Island Discs. However, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), this cultural mismatch between different generations is just one symptom of a wider and potentially more damaging lack of understanding.
According to the report, Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus: Addressing the young people/jobs mismatch, there is a clear mismatch between employers’ expectations of young people during the recruitment process and young people’s understanding of what is expected of them.
This is hindering young people’s access to the labour market, contributing to the high rates of youth unemployment (currently almost one in five 16-24 years old is unemployed) and fuelling a ticking time bomb of skills shortages for UK businesses, who may be unwittingly limiting their access to this important and diverse pool of talent.
Commenting, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive at the CIPD, says: ‘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.’
Diverse talent pool
As this Daily Mail article shows, it’s easy to pin all the blame for this mismatch on young people but the CIPD should give pause for thought. Its key findings are that:
Many employers state that they require ‘experience’, even for relatively junior roles, which then creates a vicious cycle for those young people who do not have access to work opportunities. This also prevents businesses from taking advantage of a diverse talent pool and can result in paying above the odds for skills they could have honed internally.
A lack of feedback, or even acknowledgement, after applying for jobs is de-motivating and crushing the confidence of many young people. On the flipside, some employers are overwhelmed by a large volume of ‘scattergun’ applications from young people who have done nothing to research and tailor their applications to the specific role.
Selection and recruitment processes are often lengthy and not very transparent, meaning that young people have no idea about the stages involved or what they should do to prepare. This, and failure to tailor interviews for people who have no prior experience of work (currently only one in four employers report that they adapt their recruitment practices for young people), often means that employers are left disappointed by a process that does not get the most out of young people.
Poor careers advice and guidance in schools, coupled with a lack of support available to young people during the transition from education to work, means that many young people have little understanding of the world of work and don’t know where to turn to or how to improve their chances of finding a job.
So what’s the solution? How should companies set about attracting fresh, new talent? This short download, Recruiting young people: top tips for employers, is a good starting point.