A British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) report, which coincides with the launch of National Careers Week, has shown that more than half of UK employers believe that a lack of soft skills is resulting in a generation of young people who are not ready for work.

Entitled Developing the Talents of the Next Generation, the survey found that 57 percent of employers do not see the level of communication skills, resilience and team working that young workers need to succeed in the working world. The report also produced evidence of a lack of focus on enterprise and employability within educational institutions (53%) and a lack of careers advice (46%), both of which may well impact on young people’s development in the world of work.

In light of the findings, the BCC is proposing a number of actions to foster more of a connection between educators and businesses:

  • Universal ‘experience of work’ in all schools UK-wide to improve employment prospects – making sure that all pupils finish school with high-quality exposure to business and the essential skills needed for work.
  • Measuring schools on their pupils’ career destinations – by bringing in a focus on employability and life skills into schools, rather than ‘teaching to the test’, it’s hoped that young people will have a smoother transition into work.
  • A guarantee of a business governor at every secondary school – making schools more aware of local business needs and helping to build healthy relationships with their local business community.
  • Promoting enterprise modules for all higher and further education students – building up students’ knowledge of business to prepare them for the world of work or entrepreneurship.

Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“For too long, many young people haven’t had the preparation or opportunities they need to succeed. We are determined to change the system and ensure that businesses, educators, and government shoulder the burden when it comes to preparing young people for work. We often hear from businesses struggling to plug skills gaps, who express frustration that young people lack the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. We need to work better to create a pipeline of talent, ready to become the next generation of team players, entrepreneurs and business owners.

“Employers put exposure to work and life skills like team working, determination, and the ability to communicate effectively, at the top of their wish list when looking to hire. Businesses need to play their part by providing experience of work to young people that goes beyond photocopying or making cups of tea – experience that gives a meaningful insight into working life.

“By measuring schools on pupil career destination, putting business governors in secondary schools and giving university and college students the option to take business and enterprise modules, we can help to give young people the best chance of building a successful career. National Careers Week is an excellent opportunity to highlight the range of careers available to people entering the workforce, and the skills that are at the top of the wish list for employers.”

Do you notice these traits in the young candidates that you interview? Are older managers just not versed in how millennials communicate? Have your say below.