Clarity over further education and career prospects for young people in the UK remains in disarray, with the apprenticeship levy receiving a lukewarm response from employers. At the same time, young people appear disillusioned and uninspired by the choices and prospects available to them. How can HR avoid a potential future skills gap as it tries to attract upcoming talent?
The alternative to a University education for many young people – the apprenticeship – has faced more criticism the past week, with over a quarter of employers opposed to the forthcoming levy according to the CIPD. In some cases, it’s suggested that employers will offset the cost by adjusting current training programmes to fit within an apprenticeship category.
Both the British Chambers of Commerce and the CBI have expressed concern regarding the levy due to the potential for low level training to be accredited as formal apprenticeships. Around one fifth of businesses (21%) suggest they would increase Level 2 apprenticeships (equivalent to 5 passes at GCSE) while reducing Level 3 (equivalent to 2 A Level passes), further diluting the value of apprenticeships among an age group that is already sceptical about their benefits. The CIPD has subsequently called for the government to delay the introduction of the levy.
This isn’t the only indication that the recruitment and prospects of young talent is facing something of a crisis, as the following points show:-
Career concerns : Volunteer charity vInspired found that many young people believe their ability to live debt free or earn more than the average UK salary of £26,500 is beyond their reach. Furthermore, 87% believe that the high cost of education prohibits their ability to secure their preferred career path in a competitive jobs market. This concern is echoed by a quarter of students who aren’t confident that University tuition fees will be recovered during the course of their career.
Understanding Generation Z : As 'Generation Z' begins to enter the jobs market, the majority of 16-20 year olds feel employers aren’t working hard enough to attract them, or understand their aspirations. This sense of disinterest is a cause of additional concern as young people attempt to make informed education and career decisions.
Digital skills training : The tech skills shortage among graduates remains a problem as educational institutions and employers fail to train people in basic digital skills. The UK’s digital economy is the largest and fastest growing in the G20 yet it’s estimated that one million small businesses don’t possess the necessary skills to compete in this new digital era. Large businesses are also affected, with nearly three quarters suffering from a shortage of tech skills.
Presenteeism : Once in employment, proving their worth in their career is also becoming an issue for young people. A YouGov poll found that two thirds of 18 to 26 year olds stay late at the office in an attempt to gain their boss’s attention, believing that opportunities for career progression would be negatively affected by working remotely or leaving work on time.
Taking steps to a positive approach
Creating a clearer path to help young people make the right choices relating to their further education and long-term career prospects will help to prevent the problems of future skills shortages and overqualification. As confusion continues over the value of apprenticeships, employers can take the following steps:-
Introduce relevant skills training : The lack of digital adoption is an issue affecting all UK businesses. Schools, Universities, colleges and employers must ensure young people are equipped with skills relevant to the workplace, while providing appropriate careers advice. The majority of graduates don’t possess vital basic digital skills such as coding. Clarification on what digital skills means to non-tech companies is also essential. To ensure adequate training is available to all young people, efforts must also be made to overcome the perception that tech is a predominantly male environment.
Review existing talent acquisition strategies: Like millennials, less than half of Generation Z expect to stay in their first job for two years. A positive employer brand, on the job training, career development opportunities and treating candidates like consumers will create a more effective hiring and retention strategy. Building trust, a positive working environment and the opportunity to make a difference will also help to attract talented performers of all ages.
Invest in HR technology : The first step towards digital adoption in the workplace is the investment of technology to support hiring processes. As employers grapple with complex workforce issues, recruitment software coupled with techniques such as the introduction of gamification will enhance HR’s ability to hire the best young talent.
Take steps now to prevent a future skills crisis within your business. Streamline your hiring process with technology used by some of the world’s leading organisations. Contact Advorto today.
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