• ‘Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus’

  • 25 Apr 2013
  • Comments 3 comments

Recruitment disconnect hindering youth job prospects, warns CIPD

There is a distinct mismatch between the expectations of employers and young people in the recruitment process, new CIPD research has revealed.

This conflict of understanding hinders entry to the labour market for young jobseekers and contributes to high rates of youth unemployment, the institute has warned.

It also fuels a “ticking time bomb” of skills shortages for UK businesses, who might be unwittingly limiting their access to a diverse pool of talent in the 16-24 age group.

The report, Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus: Addressing the young people/jobs mismatch, identified a number of flash points that hindered young people from finding work, which included the “vicious cycle” of employers asking for workplace experience for entry level roles.

The research also highlighted the “de-motivating” effect that a lack of application acknowledgement or feedback had on young people – although it did note that some employers were overwhelmed by a large volume of “scattergun” applications from young people who had done nothing to research or tailor their submissions.

Selection and recruitment processes were often lengthy and not very transparent, added the report, which meant that young people had no idea about the stages involved or what they should do to prepare. This, and a failure to adapt interviews for people with no prior experience of work, often resulted in employers being left disappointed by a process that did not get the most out of young people. 

A poll of Jobcentre Plus advisors conducted for the study showed that 77 per cent felt employers should tailor their recruitment practices to make them more youth friendly.

The CIPD also warned that poor careers advice and guidance in schools, coupled with a lack of support available to young people during the transition from education to work, meant that many young people had limited understanding of the world of work and did not know what steps to take to improve their chances of finding a job.

Peter Cheese, the CIPD’s chief executive, said: “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.”

Today’s report drew on a range of sources, including interviews with high profile employers, young people, training providers and Jobcentre Plus advisers. It is published alongside an advice leaflet for employers on how to make their recruitment practices more youth friendly. 



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Comments (3)
  • It's a catch 22: You can't get a job without experience and you can't get experience without as job. Even those of us with experience are told it's not enough! I have a first class honours degree and have almost completed my Masters in HRM. I have a few years experience of working in HR but I don't even get interviews because I don't have the specific experience most jobs vacancies ask for. Why not include practical tasks as part of the selection process instead of solely relying on past experience?

  • Ian's point is entirely valid. If more employers advised students on what they need there would be less frustration on both sides. Brighton and Hove Albion football club sponsor a Want To Work scheme for local employers to coach apprentices on job hunting with great success. We even advise on social media skills. If employers want more talent the opportunities are out there.  

  • Having just spoken as a visiting lawyer at Bridgwater College (Somerset) to a group of 17 and 18 year olds I must stress the importance of the business community getting out into school and colleges to give the pupils exposure to the world of work. Firstly this shows them how we present ourselves, but it also gives them some idea of what they might like to do in the future.

    If young people had more idea of where they want to go, perhaps this would reduce the number of blunderbuss applications thus creating the possible fiction of there being 100+ applicants for each job.

    Ian Pearson, Amicus Commercial Solicitors, Somerset