Thousands of school-leavers today received their A level results and, to assist them, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has issued practical tips for the next generation of workers plus they have called on Government and business community to do more to build bridges into the world of work.

The REC’s latest JobsOutlook survey shows that the short-term hiring intentions of employers have been affected due to the ongoing economic uncertainty. However, the good news for those looking to jump straight onto the careers ladder or to take a gap-year is that an increasing number of employers expect to be hiring over the next 12 months.

Findings from JobsOutlook also reveal that 31 per cent of employers expect to increase their use of temporary workers in the next 12 months. This may provide opportunities for school leavers to develop practical experience of the world of work.

Commenting on the outlook for those receiving their A level results, Kevin Green, the REC’s Chief Executive says:

“This is an exciting but daunting time for many young people. School leavers are facing a perfect storm of an extremely competitive jobs market, a lack of effective guidance and a shortage of university places. However, our advice is to remain positive as there are still job opportunities out there. The key is to be aware of what skills employers are looking for, what the growth sectors are and to make the most of different routes into work such internships and temporary assignments.

“Those going on to university should complement their academic studies with some work experience. This will put them in good stead when it comes to entering the jobs market and will help to build the competencies that employers are seeking. As well as fundamental abilities such as communication and team-working, these could include commercial awareness, project planning, analysis and customer skills.”

The REC recently published the findings of its Youth Employment Taskforce which focused on the practical barriers currently facing young job-seekers.

Underlining the need to provide more support to the latest cohort of school leavers as well as to other young job-seekers, Green concludes:

“The economic downturn has already had a disproportionate effect on those aged between 16 and 24. Urgent action is needed from Government, business and education providers to build bridges into the world of work, address the current expectations gap and avert the threat of a ‘lost generation’.”

Tips for those entering the jobs market now:

• Be aware – Get guidance on sectors and employers that are currently recruiting, Professional recruiters can be a good source of information here.
• Be tactical – Make the most of different routes into work such internships and temporary assignments. These can help to develop vital skills and experience. It is also a good time to look at vocational options and apprenticeships.
• Be flexible – won’t get the perfect job straight away but even relatively low-skilled work will provide crucial insights into the work of work and can lead to other opportunities.
• Be prepared – Get some practical guidance on CV writing and interview tips.

For those going to University:

• Be focused – Look at ways of developing some of the generic skills that employers are looking for – such as communication, commercial awareness, project planning and customer skills.
• Be proactive – Look to complement academic studies with work experience and extracurricular activities that can develop important skills and competencies.
• Be forward-thinking – What are the types of jobs that my studying could lead to, how can I start boosting my chances of employment?
• Be connected – Keep an eye out for what is happening in the jobs market, build a network of people you can speak to about possible career options.
The Youth Employment Taskforce was chaired by Baroness Margaret Prosser, Vice Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and brought together leading employers, recruiters, welfare providers as well as organisations such as the CIPD and Jobcentre Plus.