As thousands of young people leave education to look for jobs this summer the latest JobsOutlook survey of employers from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) finds that four out of five bosses (78 percent) say they are either unaware or won’t be making use of the government’s Youth Contract scheme.

The programme which offers a £2,275 incentive to companies that hire a young person was unknown to 31 percent of employers polled with an additional 36 percent saying that they knew of the scheme but didn’t intend to act on it. A further 11 percent of respondents were unsure whether they’d heard about the incentive scheme or would make use of it. Only 22 percent of bosses said they intended to take on a young worker and benefit from the funding on offer.

Commenting on these latest findings, the REC’s chief executive Kevin Green said:

“It’s clear that the government’s good intentions on youth employment are not hitting the mark if four out of five employers are not taking up the opportunity of a financial incentive to take on a young worker.

“It’s especially hard for young people because in a challenging economic climate employers tend to hire on the basis of experience rather than potential. So as more young people leave school and college to enter the already competitive labour market, it’s vital that any government interventions are successful in supporting them into work. It seems from this survey that the government isn’t getting the message across to employers about why and how they should take part in initiatives such as the Youth Contract.”

In its regularly collected data, the REC’s JobsOutlook survey of employers reports that:

  • 62 percent said they planned to increase the number of permanent employees over the next three months (compared to 64 percent last month)
  • 58 percent expect to increase permanent hires over the next 4-12 months (only a slight change from 59 percent last month)
  • 31 percent plan to increase agency worker numbers in the next quarter (down one point from last month) with 16 percent saying they intend to decrease their use of agency workers (compared to 19 percent last month)
  • 29 percent say they will increase agency workers over the next 4-12 month period (compared to 30 percent last month) with 15 percent saying they will decrease their use of agency workers (down from 17 percent last month)

Kevin Green concluded:

“There’s little change in employers’ attitudes to future hiring this month. Most bosses tell us they plan to increase their permanent headcount over both the short and medium term. But fragile confidence like this is vulnerable to external shocks, such as more bad news from the banking sector and eurozone.”