The City & Guilds Group

Campaign launches to help businesses end disadvantage in youth recruitment and protect their futures

Press Release   •   Feb 04, 2016 12:53 GMT

  • Research shows young people face huge barriers putting them at a disadvantage in recruitment processes
  • Negative experiences with recruitment hurt corporate reputations with one in three young people finding the process of applying for jobs difficult. Of those, one in five are put off that company and one in ten off the sector completely.

Business in the Community (BITC) is launching Future Proof, a new campaign and framework, backed by the City & Guilds Group to help businesses break down the barriers young people face in their recruitment processes. Future Proof will work with businesses to make processes more inclusive, fair and transparent, as well as creating better first job opportunities for all young people, to help protect businesses’ reputations and build a workforce with the right skills now and in the future.

At the same time, a survey of 4,000 young people (18-24 year olds), commissioned by the City & Guilds Group and BITC, highlights the damage to businesses that a broken recruitment process can cause, not only turning people off individual brands, but entire industries. A shocking one in five (22%) young people who had a bad experience of a recruitment process, were put off a company completely, while one in ten was put off a whole sector, impacting future career decisions.

Young people face a number of barriers in recruitment processes which were highlighted in the survey;

  • the most common barrier (57%), was a lack of previous experience,
  • followed by 41% saying location of job,
  • 28% not having the right qualifications,
  • and 18% citing the costs of the process.

A report by BITC in April 2015 highlighted this disparity as only 39% of companies say they ask for no experience for entry-level jobs – meaning business are missing out on the value that young recruits can bring to their business. However 42% are now allowing candidates to demonstrate transferable skills not necessarily gained through work.

Difficult recruitment processes are also creating another issue; a lack of confidence which is impacting on future job applications. This has wider social and economic implications for society, limiting young people’s career aspirations and development. One in three found the job application process difficult. Of those that found it difficult, worryingly 44% ended up losing confidence. This led to 26% saying they were less likely to apply for other jobs.

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, comments; “Despite shifts in demographics and policy incentives to employ young people, too many businesses fail to invest in the next generation of workers. This is reflected in the stubbornly high youth unemployment rate as compared to the rest of the population. The unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds is 13.7% compared to a UK wide rate of 5.1%[1]. As the competition to attract and recruit young people increases, businesses will lose out unless they change their recruitment processes.

“Through Future Proof, we want businesses to take a look at their practices, be honest about how youth friendly they really are – and commit to changing for the better. It’s time to act now before they miss out on the skilled, talented individuals they need for their organisations to grow in the future.”

Grace Mehanna, Campaign Director at Business in the Community adds; “We applaud the recent announcements from companies scrapping set UCAS points and A-level grades for entry level roles. Through our campaign we want to build on the great work that has been done and work with businesses to help shine a light on the skills they need and open their eyes to the potential of young people, not just looking at those with good academic qualifications and previous experience. The shift in demographics and apprenticeship policy provides businesses with an ideal opportunity to rethink how they recruit young people. We believe this will ensure businesses have a workforce with the right skills, now and in the future.”

Businesses need to make their recruitment processes more youth friendly to future proof their businesses. To tackle the issue, the Future Proof campaign brings together the best of BITC and the City & Guilds Group’s experience, networks and influence to enable real change in the way that businesses view and recruit young people. The online Youth Employment Frameworkprovides everything businesses need to help them:

  • Open up access to quality entry level job opportunities for young people just starting out
  • Make job criteria more youth friendly, by looking at the skills and attitudes their business needs, rather than focusing so heavily on previous experience and qualifications.

Businesses can also get involved through taking part in one of the events, forums or webinars that Business in the Community will be running across the UK.

Christine Hodgson Chairman Capgemini UK and the Careers & Enterprise Company comments; “At Capgemini we have broadened our junior intake beyond just graduates, and we are delighted with the results. Companies need to see hiring young people as part of a long term investment. With a growing skills gap; all businesses need a strategy for securing strong future talent. The Apprenticeship Levy means that many businesses now have to look again at how they hire young people. The guidance, best practice case studies and assessment tool available on the Future Proof site are invaluable resources for any business looking to update their recruitment.”

The Future Proof website can be found at

The following spokespeople are available for interview;

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group

Grace Mehanna, Campaign Director at Business in the Community

[1] Source ONS, Labour Market Statistics, January 2016


Media Contacts:

Charlotte Collins- White


020 7566 9706

Rachel Cashmore


020 7294 3663

For further information please contact:

Grace Mehanna, Campaign Director Talent & Skills, Business in the Community on

Notes to editors:

[1] Source ONS, Labour Market Statistics, January 2016

Notes to editor

About Future Proof

Future Proof is a campaign by Business in the Community (BITC), backed by the City & Guilds Group that aims to highlight the disadvantages young people face in the recruitment process and how this is damaging businesses’ futures. The campaign was created because a group of 20 CEOs and senior executives identified the opportunity for their businesses to look at how they recruit and retain young people.

We want to help businesses break down these barriers and make recruitment processes more inclusive, fair and transparent and create better first job opportunities for all young people.

We are asking businesses to:

  • 1.Open up access to quality entry level job opportunities for young people just starting out.
  • 2.Make job criteria more youth friendly, by looking at the skills and attitudes their business needs, rather than focusing so heavily on previous experience and qualifications.

About Business in the Community and the City & Guilds Group

Business in the Community

Business in the Community is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network.

Our members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to building a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

Responsible business is about how a business makes its money not just how it spends its profit. It is about managing growth responsibly while reducing dependency on natural resources. It is about how the business operates as an employer, supplier and customer and how as a neighbour it helps to create vibrant communities where people can flourish. We are a business-led, issue focused charity with more than 30 years’ experience of mobilising business. We engage thousands of businesses through our programmes driven by our core membership of over 800 organisations from small enterprises to global corporations.

About the City & Guilds Group

The City & Guilds Group is a leader in global skills development. Its purpose is to enable people and organisations to develop their skills for personal and economic growth.

Backed by a Royal Charter, the City & Guilds Group has over 135 years’ experience in making sure that people are prepared to contribute to successful businesses and thriving economies.

The City & Guilds Group partners with more than 200 companies to develop the skilled workforces that they need, and invests in learning technologies to help people learn whenever and wherever they can.

The City & Guilds Group is made up of City & Guilds, the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), City & Guilds Kineo and The Oxford Group:

oCity & Guilds develops programmes of learning, learning technology, certification and assessment, to support colleges, training providers and governments.

oILM helps individuals, education providers and businesses improve the standards of leadership and management through qualifications, accredited training and specialist member services. ILM awards qualifications to over 95,000 managers across the world every year.

oCity & Guilds Kineo is a global workplace learning company. It offers a fresh approach to elearning management systems, apprenticeships and managed learning services.

oThe Oxford Group provides bespoke management training, leadership development and executive coaching to the world's leading companies.

Combined, the City & Guilds Group operates in over 100 countries.

For more information about the City & Guilds Group visit: