There is a significant risk of a lost generation of graduates unless employers take urgent steps to develop initiatives such as internships and training programmes, according to a new survey of HR directors by OfficeTeam, a leading recruitment consultancy specialising in administrative and office professionals.
The greatest concern that HR directors have in regard to the prospects for younger people in the workforce, is the lack of entry-level jobs, followed by high unemployment rates and too few internships.  There is a worry if graduates cannot secure entry level positions it will cause problems throughout the employment ladder, with all levels finding a glass ceiling to promotion due to a shortage of appropriately skilled employees to take their place. 
More than half (57%) of  HR Directors surveyed believe the current economic climate will have an overall negative impact on the younger generation (those under 24 years of age) as they look for their first position.
However, there are some positives for younger workers as a confident 34% of HR managers thought the current economic situation would have no impact on graduates whatsoever, whilst four per cent of respondents expect the economy to have a positive impact.
Surprisingly, only a fifth (21%) of HR directors expect educational funding cuts to have a negative impact on younger workers’ job prospects; similarly, just 19% are concerned about rising tuition costs.
Phil Booth, director for OfficeTeam’s UK operations, said,  “There have been a number of situational changes in the UK that many see as directly impacting new graduates’ chances of gaining employment.
“It’s imperative that employers create opportunities for graduates, whether that comes in the form of an internship or training programmes, to ensure we avoid a lost generation of talent that will impact the modern workforce for years to come. Work experience is invaluable for new job hunters and it is here that organisations can really make a difference.”
HR directors from public sector companies are the most concerned about the current economic prospects, with two thirds (67%) saying that this would have a negative impact on graduates. 
Those least concerned by the economic situation are HR directors from London, with 42% of respondents believing it would have no impact on graduates.
HR directors were asked, “Which of the following, if any, do you think have the most negative impact on the younger generation in the workforce?” Their responses:

Lack of entry-level jobs
High unemployment rates
Lack of internship opportunities
Funding cuts to the education sector
Rising tuition costs
Nothing has a negative impact
Don’t know
London HR directors are the most concerned (49%) over lack of entry-level jobs, as are medium-sized companies (41%). London respondents were also very concerned over high unemployment rates, with 43% citing this as a principal worry.

HR directors from Southern England were most concerned about funding cuts to the education sector (31%), as were medium-sized companies (31%) and public sector (32%) representatives. Out of the 18% who thought nothing would negatively impact graduates, small businesses made up the majority of these, with 28% of them believing this to be the case