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Yorkshire’s young people facing barriers to employment

BITC Future Proof Campaign event November

Businesses across the region come together to inspire the next generation

Research by the City & Guilds Group and Business in the Community (BITC) has revealed the challenges facing young people in Yorkshire and Humber with more than a third of young people viewing location as barrier to applying for a job.

The study, which looks at the challenges young people face in recruitment, also revealed that despite nine out of ten young people having some idea of the career they wanted to pursue, two fifths said a gruelling application process knocked their confidence.

Highlights from the survey of 4,000 18-24 year olds include:

  • A third of young people worry that they don’t have the right qualifications.
  • 37% of young people in Yorkshire didn’t prepare for their last job interview.
  • A quarter said a negative experience made them less likely to apply for other jobs.
  • A fifth found job adverts difficult to understand.
  • 29% found the overall experience difficult.
  • Asked what they value in a prospective workplace, only 13% of young people from Yorkshire said the most important thing was additional benefits and perks.
  • In contrast, two fifths emphasised having opportunities to develop and further their career
  • More than a third prioritised working with friendly and helpful colleagues and managers.

To help find a solution to the issues, Future Proof, a Business in the Community campaign, backed by City & Guilds Group, aims to encourage businesses in the region to start a conversation around how to communicate and recruit the future workforce.

This week, in Leeds, this conversation began with Asda hosting a Future Proof Assembly for local businesses at their HQ. The event brought together over 50 local business leaders, stakeholders and HR professionals to explore how they can connect with Yorkshire’s future young talent.

From looking at how to reduce jargon in job descriptions to exploring behaviour-based recruitment, local business delegates discussed they could open up opportunities for young people in the region.

Speaking about the findings, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, said: ‘‘Young people in Yorkshire face major barriers during the job application process. Of course, employers should challenge and test potential new employers, but their recruitment practices should also be inclusive. That means making sure assessment days, interviews or any part of the process are as accessible as possible. Otherwise, businesses risk losing out on talent that they can’t afford to take for granted, particularly given the Government’s ongoing focus on the Northern Powerhouse. Employers must not lose, or put off, talented employees before they even start their careers.’

Grace Mehanna, Director of Youth Employment, Business in the Community, said: ‘Through our Future Proof campaign, we want to build on some of the great work that has already been done by businesses here, working with them to open up opportunities for all young people. With the workplace changing, current recruitment practices don’t match the future workforce. As more young people enter the job market, employer’s recruitment processes need to catch up. From unnecessary work experience requirements to a lack of transparency, there are significant barriers in recruitment for young people. These outdated recruitment practices mean businesses are missing out on great talent in Yorkshire.’

The survey also looked at young peoples’ approach to job seeking and found that three quarters of those in Yorkshire would search online, whilst a quarter would turn to Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms. More traditional methods were not ruled out; with 23% also saying they would ask a friend of family member for help.

Charlie Field, Senior Director, People at Asda, said: ‘We know that we have a wealth of talented young people in Yorkshire and Humber, who have the drive and ambition to be successful in their chosen career.

‘At Asda we are all about finding the right people for the right role and giving them an opportunity to show what they can do. Our ethos is that we recruit for attitude and train for skill – this is an approach that benefits everyone, as we employ them for who they are, not for what they have or haven’t done in the past.

‘We are proud to support the Future Proof campaign as it mirrors our thinking and commitment to youth employment. This event is a great opportunity to start breaking down these barriers and create accessible jobs for all young people. All businesses in the region have a part to play in helping to get more young people into work and we were proud to host this event.’