Preparing young people for the world of work
From a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
The CIPD carried out an online survey in July 2021 of a panel of over 2,000 young people aged between 18 and 30 years of age, who live in the UK. The results explore young people’s attitudes and experiences of education and accessing employment. Here is a summary:
Preparing young people for the world of work is key to long-term productivity and competitiveness. As well as being critical to the UK’s economic future, recruiting and developing young people benefits organisations now through improving workforce diversity, bringing in new ideas and skills, and helping to build talent pipelines.
Supporting young people to navigate the increasingly complex world of work and find jobs and fulfilling careers is a collective responsibility. It requires co-ordinated action from a range of organisations, including policy-makers, educators and training providers, employment support agencies, voluntary and community organisations, business representative organisations and businesses themselves.
Yet, as this research shows, many young people think they did not receive enough support while in education to understand and prepare for their future careers. Alongside this, too many young people are dissatisfied with their current job as well as their career progression to date, with poor-quality line management and a lack of effective training programmes identified as the major factors holding them back.
The qualifications young people hold are seen as more necessary to get jobs, than do jobs. The majority of those surveyed hold degree-level qualifications. Over a quarter think that they are overqualified for their current role, rising to a third of those educated to degree level and above. Of those who attended university, over half would have considered an apprenticeship as an alternative route if it had been available.
Most young people participate in paid work at some point during their education. Paid work during education is seen as more beneficial for developing employability skills as opposed to gaining subsequent employment. However, those who did combine work and study are much less likely to be currently unemployed compared with those who didn’t. Over a quarter of young people rated the quality of their work experience placement as either low or very low; however, those who did work experience more recently were most likely to rate it positively.
Most young people do not believe they received high-quality careers advice at school or college. While the majority of young people received some type of careers advice and guidance in education, just a fifth report that the guidance they received was high quality. There are clear differences by socioeconomic background, with young people from less advantaged backgrounds less likely to have received careers guidance and those who did being more likely to rate it as poor.
Only half of young people surveyed received a face-to-face careers guidance interview at school. Of those who did receive this, just 41% report that this was effective in helping them understand and plan their next steps into either further education, training or work. Young people from less advantaged backgrounds were more likely to rate the guidance they received as not effective compared with their more advantaged peers. Survey results show that most help and support received at school or college was on educational/academic options, with just 29% reporting careers help and support.
Half of unemployed young people have been out of work for over a year, and half of those haven’t accessed support services. Of those surveyed, under one in ten were currently unemployed and, of this group, half had been unemployed for 12 months or more. Only half of unemployed respondents had accessed support services to help them find work. Overall, 42% of those who are unemployed have applied for ten jobs or more, and the majority of young people who have applied for positions and have been interviewed did not receive any feedback on why they weren’t successful.
Just over half of respondents are satisfied with their job, with those working in wholesale and retail reporting both the lowest job and life satisfaction levels. While just under two-thirds of respondents are satisfied with their life currently, only just over half are satisfied with their main job. Rates of job satisfaction vary by industry, with the lowest rates of job satisfaction being in wholesale and retail and highest being in education and healthcare.
Over half of employed young people have met or exceeded their career expectations to date. Overall, respondents were broadly positive about career progression. However, 29% of young people reported that it had failed to meet their expectations, with poor-quality line management, lack of effective training programmes and access to graduate programmes as the most commonly reported barriers.
Over two-fifths of young people believe the pandemic has harmed their long-term career prospects. The survey results find that 43% of young people feel the pandemic has harmed their long-term career prospects, rising to over half of workers aged 18 to 21 years old. Younger workers are also more likely to report the negative impact of homeworking, are less likely to feel they can work without distractions and more likely to feel they are missing out on social connections. This age group are the least likely to feel confident that they are able to achieve their future career aspirations.
The survey results reveal that too many young people did not receive adequate support while in education to prepare for the world of work. For many, these challenges extend into the workplace, with poor line management and a lack of effective training programmes holding them back from developing their careers and progressing at work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a negative impact on young people: for some it has resulted in a period of sustained unemployment with potentially damaging consequences for their future earnings and progression, while others have suffered from worsened mental health as a result, as well as concerns over their long-term career prospects.
Read the full report here.
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