Youth Employment UK – Is The System Letting Young People Down?

As the UK general elections draw ever nearer, the various political parties are outlining their manifestos and, as is the norm, employment figures and the state of the British economy are one of the main points that are hammered home by each party, whether in a negative or a positive light.

In my previous post we looked at the current state of the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom and looked at both the positive and the negative reasoning behind the facts stated. As Mark Twain remarked:

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”

The facts are there and politicians will happily share these but the statistics will be used to benefit their party manifestos.

In this blog post, we will have a look at young people in the workplace. Youth unemployment in the United Kingdom is often on the agenda and, as an employer, maybe you have existing systems in place to make sure you are employing or training young people. Or maybe you are aware there is more room in your company for creating more graduate jobs or student jobs, for example, and are considering your recruitment strategy for getting more young people on board and being a part of your team.

As E4S are a company that focus on getting young people into work, chances are, if you are reading this now, you are interested in employing young people.

Youth Employment UK – Are Young People Being Let Down By The System?

The jobs market is looking rosy in the United Kingdom at the moment. As I mentioned in a previous post about the outlook for 2015 for the jobs market, the prediction was for more full time jobs than part time jobs and short term temporary jobs to be available and, as the year progresses, it certainly looks like that is the case.

Lots of new jobs out there means lots more young people can benefit from the vacancies and get themselves into the careers they are looking to go into, right?

But are young people – students, graduates and school leavers – benefitting from the number of jobs available on the market right now? Are they benefiting at all or are they being let down by, or even left behind, by the current systems that are in place to get people into full time employment?

Yes, the full time vacancies are there – in some sectors, there are more specialist skilled vacancies than there are people to fill them, according to some reports – but are young people being given the tools, qualifications and opportunities to help fill those vacancies and drive the British economy forward through the 21st century?

What young people can do to help themselves get into employment

Depending on the qualifications they are studying for, whilst at university, many students will do internships and other work experience placements in the hope of giving themselves a better chance of securing the graduate jobs they dream of when they qualify. Perhaps your company runs similar programmes and maybe you have even offered graduate jobs to those working with you for after they qualify.

Other students take on part time student jobs whilst they are at university. Student jobs are taken on for many reasons; to help fund studies, to help fund general living costs and socialising, to pay for travel and also, to build up work experience and transferable skills that they can hopefully take with them into future graduate positions.

Employers place a whole variety of jobs that might be suitable for students and young people on the E4S website; from seasonal work such as temporary events jobs, hotel jobs and supermarket jobs to full time roles that will suit graduates and school leavers looking to build a career.

I’ve written in the past about how employers can benefit students and young people by offering temporary holiday jobs such as summer jobs or Christmas work and it’s a win win situation. Young people have a lot to offer, they can often bring new and innovative ideas to your firm and inject new life into ongoing projects. And naturally, as an employer, you have then got the chance to harness any young talent you spot and develop that to the benefit of your company.

What is the reality for many of the United Kingdom’s young people?

At the moment, not all young people are benefitting from there being more jobs available across the United Kingdom. This is not just the case for school leavers but also for graduates, too. Many young graduates struggling to get graduate jobs find themselves at the Job Centre where they are then finding themselves sent to jobs that are not what they are looking for.

Do you have experiences of this as an employer where you have taken on young people recruited from the Job Centre? Perhaps it has been beneficial for you but one concern is that by having this system, the United Kingdom’s young people are not being given the opportunity to flourish in their areas of expertise.

Yes, unemployment figures go down if there are so many people in work but is this a long term solution for both reducing youth unemployment and also for benefitting the future economic growth of the United Kingdom? Young school leavers and graduates are likely to find jobs more rewarding if they themselves have chosen to apply for that particular role because it’s in a field where they really want to work. They are also more likely to stick around for longer and feel more loyal to the company; a benefit for your staff retention figures and therefore your firm.

And surely, as employers you also benefit because you have happy recruits who want to be there, working for your company, rather than having to be there because they risk losing state benefits otherwise. If you have unfulfilled, unhappy staff, both they and you are failing to benefit and in the future, the long term growth of the British economy could be held back, also.

2015 General Elections – What do the different political parties have in store for employers?

So, with elections looming large, what have the different political parties got in their respective manifestos that is going to affect you as an employer? Hopefully, lots of benefits that will assist both you and the high levels of youth unemployment that exist in some areas of the United Kingdom.

Youth Unemployment

  • The Labour Party have said they will tackle youth unemployment by sending those who have been unemployed for more than one year to a paid starter job. If this is not taken, that person will lose their benefits.
  • The Conservatives have said they are going to create an extra 2 million jobs in the next parliament should they be elected. They will also create three million new apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are increasingly seen as a way of investing in young people, giving them the skills they need to work in particular industries. You can click here to read more about apprenticeships if your company is not already using them as part of their recruitment strategy.
  • The Liberal Democrats have also said they will invest more in the expansion of apprenticeships and will go further by developing national colleges for vocational skills. If you are an employer in a firm that is in a field where there is a skills shortage, perhaps your company would benefit from being able to choose from more young people with relevant vocational training. You can read more here about why employers can benefit from the implementation of apprenticeships.

National Minimum Wage

Both Conservative and Labour have said they will raise the National Minimum Wage to £8 per hour by the end of the decade. This will hopefully encourage more people into the workplace and make those already in the workplace, working for the National Minimum Wage, feel more valued.

As an employer, it depends what industry you are working in, but maybe you have staff working for you who are earning the National Minimum Wage. Young people will obviously benefit financially but we will have to wait for the outcome of the general election before we know how this would be funded and how this would affect your company as an employer.

Benefitting Young People In The Workplace

So, getting young people into the workplace and onto their respective career ladders continues to be an issue within the British jobs market and for the British economy. In the long term, the British economy needs to remain up there and competitive with other world economies and to do this, young people need to be in the workplace doing jobs and careers which match their skills and aspirations.

For some industries, such as electronics and engineering careers for example, it remains a struggle to get qualified people into those positions. The Liberal Democrats have said they would like to see immigration policies that help fill those vacancies but we also need British students and graduates coming through and qualifying to fill those roles, too.

And perhaps the situation is not so bad as it seems for this field of work when it comes to filling roles. According to this point of view put forward in Electronics Weekly, now is a great time to be looking for careers in this area. It says there are more job vacancies because the field is experiencing a period of growth and therefore there are more roles in design, manufacturing and services available – this is an ideal situation for those with relevant qualifications who are looking for graduate jobs not just because of the number of vacancies but also because it means starting salaries are increasing, too.

Traineeships and Apprenticeships

As an employer maybe you already take on young people on traineeships and apprenticeships and, depending on your personal experience of them, you might be fully behind them or maybe you are disenchanted with them. Whatever the case, whether you are a thumbs up or a thumbs down, political parties are big fans of them and they are here to stay.

More regulation in the future should hopefully mean a similar experience for all employers and apprentices in their respective industries and those industries that traditionally struggle to attract school leavers and students could become more attractive via apprenticeships.

Student Jobs and Weekend Jobs

Whether it’s part time work at evenings or weekends or temporary seasonal work such as summer jobs in events or Christmas jobs, school leavers and students benefit from time spent in the workplace and this will help them in their future careers.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned in the past, it also gives you the opportunity as employers to spot young talent before other firms do so. Many students and young people go on to develop full time careers from their seasonal jobs and weekend work. For those who are looking to go on and do graduate jobs and other work, as an employer offering jobs to students and young people, you have been a part of their development in the workplace and given them transferable skills that can help them gain employment in their chosen field in the future.

Advertising Your Job Vacancies With E4S

As an employer looking to fill your vacancies by offering student jobs and roles suitable for young people, E4S can be an ideal place for you to do this. We advertise many types of roles such as part time and holiday jobs, gap year jobs, internships, entry level jobs and graduate careers as well as roles for school leavers such as apprenticeships.

If you would like to place your advert with E4S, take a look at what we have to offer and some reasons why you should advertise your jobs vacancies with us. You can also read our ‘about us’ section to find out what we are all about as a company – we aim to get young people into work. Here’s the link to our dedicated employers’ area on E4S where you can find out all you need to know…

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