The City & Guilds Group

Young people in the North West left ‘disillusioned’ after applying for jobs

Press Release   •   Oct 11, 2016 10:57 GMT

Research by the City & Guilds Group and Business in the Community (BITC) has revealed that almost half of young people in the North West view location as a barrier to applying for a job. The study of young people’s experiences of applying for jobs also showed that nearly a third worried about not having the right qualifications.

The survey of 4000 18-24 year olds found that, on average, nine out of ten young people had some idea of the career they wanted to pursue. But almost one in three young people failed to get feedback from employers after they applied for a job or had an interview.

Two fifths of those from the North West said a gruelling application process had knocked their confidence, while 15 per cent said a negative experience had put them off their chosen industry. A third said they found the overall experience difficult. Nearly one in five revealed that they had found it difficult to understand job adverts in terms of how well suited their skills were to the role.

The survey was carried out as part of Future Proof, a Business in the Community campaign backed by the City & Guilds Group to help businesses break down the barriers young people face in recruitment. This week, Business in the Community will hold an event in Greater Manchester, in association with Greater Manchester Talent Match, bringing together over 80 local business leaders, stakeholders and HR professionals to consider how they can change the way they inspire, hire and grow the region’s future workforce.

Asked what they value in a prospective workplace, only one in ten young people from the North West said the most important thing was additional benefits and perks. In contrast, two fifths emphasised having opportunities to develop and further their career, while a third prioritised working with friendly and helpful colleagues and managers, or feeling valued and being recognised.

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

The survey also revealed that:

  • Two thirds say their current education and employment experience is helping them pursue their career aspirations.
  • Only eight per cent felt that school was most useful in helping them think about jobs and careers, whereas nearly a third said university was.
  • 43% of young people in the North West didn’t prepare for their last job interview.

Speaking about the findings, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, said: ‘Young people in the North West are being left disillusioned after applying for jobs. Of course, employers should challenge and test potential new employees, but they must also ensure that their recruitment practices are inclusive – and that means providing the feedback young people need to learn, develop and improve. 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 Talent & Skills, Business in the Community, said: ‘Youth unemployment rates remain stubbornly high across Greater Manchester and it’s important that businesses are part of the solution. Through our Future Proof campaign, we will 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. The shift in demographics and apprenticeship policy provides businesses with an ideal opportunity to act on this agenda now. Current recruitment practices don’t match the future workforce. Work is changing, young people are entering the job market and employer’s recruitment processes needs to catch up. From unnecessary work experience requirements to a lack of transparency, there are significant barriers in recruitment for young people. We can’t just solve this by changing young people, it’s about changing businesses’ approach recruitment.’

Aesha Zafar, Head of Talent Business Partner at the BBC, said: ‘Since the BBC moved to MediaCityUK in 2011, we’ve committed to recruiting people from a broad range of backgrounds from across the North. From our apprenticeships schemes to our work experience programmes, we’ve created diverse opportunities for young people to ensure the BBC is open and accessible to new talent. We’re pleased to support the Future Proof campaign and advocate the benefits of a creative approach to recruitment.’

Ty Jones, Director, CSR and Engagement for local employer DWF, who will be speaking at the event, said: ‘University is no longer the only route to a professional career, so ensuring young people have opportunities to develop key skills employers’ value is vital to stopping social background predicting a young person’s success. Apprenticeships will fundamentally change the way young people access further education & careers and are fundamentally changing the way businesses resource their organisations. We know that 54% of employers struggle to fill vacancies and that children from poorer backgrounds are twice as likely to not realise the benefits derived through access to education, training and employment. We believe it is the responsibility of every business to be a force for good and to work in partnership with their communities to build strong and positive link between school and the world of work.’

Both DWF and BBC are part of the Greater Manchester Talent Match Employers Group.

Notes to editor

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, ILM, Kineo, The Oxford Group and Digitalme:
    • City & Guilds develops programmes of learning, learning technology, certification and assessment, to support colleges, training providers and governments.
    • ILM helps individuals, education providers and businesses improve the standards of leadership and management through qualifications and accredited training. ILM awards qualifications to over 95,000 managers across the world every year.
    • Kineo is a global workplace learning company. It offers a fresh approach to elearning management systems, apprenticeships and managed learning services.
    • The Oxford Group provides bespoke management training, leadership development and executive coaching to the world's leading companies.
    • DigitalMe designs credentials, using open badges, to recognise individuals’ skills and talent. It works with employers, training providers and over 2,000 schools across the UK.
  • Combined, the City & Guilds Group operates in over 100 countries, through 10,000 training centres, delivering qualifications in 26 different industries.
  • For more information about the City & Guilds Group visit:

About Business in the Community (BITC)

  • 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 Future Proof

  • The Future Proof campaign aims to work with businesses to make recruitment processes more inclusive, fair and transparent. Not having open and transparent recruitment process can be a real barrier and deterrent for young applicants, and businesses could be missing out on recruiting the best young talent into their workforce.
  • To help businesses to achieve change, Business in the Community has created a youth employment framework for businesses. This framework includes produced a guide for businesses on how they can make their recruitment processes more transparent for young people, including practical advice on how to offer constructive feedback to young candidates.
  • The resources also include best practice case studies from organisations that are developing open and accessible recruitment processes to engage a broad range of applicants. Employers can also get a free bespoke report on their youth employment strategy.