Government, schools and employers need to work together to help young people into work

More than half (53%) of employers believe that young people receive inadequate careers advice and almost two thirds (63%) said that the young people they had recruited lacked insight into the working world*. This is according to research data collated by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as part of its submission to the Education Select Committee report into careers guidance for young people, published today.

The CIPD is calling on the Government to ensure that improving information and guidance about jobs and career paths and increasing an understanding of the world of work is built into the delivery of education as a coherent and integral part of learning. Evidence gathered from employers and young people as part of the CIPD Learning to Work campaign highlights that the careers advice currently provided in schools is too generalised, is not doing enough to prepare people for the jobs market and is already creating skills mismatches.

There is currently an alarming lack of knowledge among young people about the different job sectors and occupations. A consequence of this is that not enough of them are studying the subjects required for certain jobs and once entering the labour market many young people are ruling out whole sectors as potential employers because they don’t have enough information about what opportunities are available. This is creating a mismatch between available jobs and young people’s skills and is laying the foundations for a future skills shortage in the UK labour market.

One solution is to enhance the links between education providers and businesses to ensure that pupils have the opportunity to hear directly from employers about different career paths. A CIPD survey found that more than two thirds (61%) of employers have expressed willingness to be more involved in the education system* but they need the opportunities to do this. We are calling on the Government to support organisations such as the Education Employers Taskforce who are facilitating greater collaboration between employers and schools.

Commenting, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “There has never been a golden age of careers advice in schools and unfortunately it has failed to develop in response to the increasing complexities of the labour market, causing problems for both young people and employers. There is already a worrying mismatch between the skills employers need and the skills the next generation of workers are focusing on.

“A critical way to help resolve this is to increase the emphasis on careers advice in schools and to get employers into schools more regularly, bringing to life the natures of different careers, and the generic and specific skills they’re looking for when they recruit. The good news is that our Learning to Work programme has found a widespread willingness amongst employers to get into the classroom. The challenge for government is to work with schools and colleges to prioritise and make it easier for employers to make good on their desire to talk to their future workforce. We welcome the recommendations for improved careers advice laid out by the Education Select Committee and feel that employer involvement will be most effective if it takes place in the context of a coherent programme of careers advice and guidance implemented by schools.”

* CIPD Learning to Work survey, 2012