What do young people need to know about the jobs market?
Last year, UK recruiters helped over 634,000 people find a new, permanent job. These jobs were across many sectors in the economy – everything from clerical and administrative jobs to hospitality and construction. In the last few years, there has been particular growth in the volume of permanent job appointments made in computing and IT, and in the engineering and industrial sectors.
This is the type of information that we know and collect via our recruitment agency members at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation. It’s our job to know what is happening in the labour market, to spot trends and to see where the future growth opportunities might be. But for a young person looking to enter the jobs market, would they be aware of this type of information? Who is telling them which jobs and careers may be most suitable for them and where the best opportunities could lie?
Most schools cannot hope to be able to fit this type of career information session into their curriculum. They have far too many other pressing responsibilities. Further, there is no reason why teachers and schools would be best placed to impart such advice – they are not working on the frontline of the jobs market, day in day out, like other employers.
A number of groups have expressed the same view for years now and it is not like we are all standing still just wishing for this situation to change. There are many fantastic people and organisations doing their utmost to ensure that young people are better prepared for the world of work. At the REC, we have tried to play our part by making it easier for recruiters to go into schools and deliver a career information session. Last year, we teamed up with Worktree to become ‘World of Work Ambassadors’. Worktree identified that one of the key problems is both schools and employers are time-poor. So Worktree devised a pack that helps our members deliver a meaningful career information event in under an hour. That’s no mean feat. Better yet, we’ve found that everyone – students, our members and teachers – really enjoy it.
But we still don’t seem to have got to the point where we have an holistic approach - where all young people know where to go for information on the jobs market and what they need to do to find a job. Too much of it relies on the willingness of a local employer or recruiter to “do a favour” for their local education provider and the school’s willingness to bring someone in to deliver a careers seminar.
This is a great shame because it is widely reported that skills shortages in many industries are growing. In our monthly survey of employers, Jobs Outlook, we found that they anticipate a shortage of permanent and temporary workers in the engineering/technical, construction and health and social care sectors in the short to medium term.
The best way we have of addressing this shortfall, both now and in the future, is by informing and harnessing the potential of all our young people. That means giving young people access to up-to-date labour market information while they are still in school and so it can inform the choices they make about which subjects to study in the future. It should also mean embedding employability skills so they are taught as a core part of the curriculum – not necessarily by teachers but by bringing in trusted employment experts. And finally, it should mean reintroducing work experience for all students so that everyone has the chance to find out what they may want to do (or at any rate, what they definitely don’t want to do!) in the future.
Today’s jobs market is thriving. Jobs are being created in many core industries and despite the political uncertainties around Brexit, businesses will still be looking at how they can grow and develop in the future. We hear a lot about how many jobs will be automated in years to come – but that just means we need even more people working on such technological advancements.
Young people need to be kept informed of how the jobs market is changing. They also need to be aware that many employers and recruiters are standing by ready to help them make the most of these opportunities. And that’s because it is in in everyone’s interests - whether we are talking about an individual, a business or our broader economy and society - to have all young people ready for the world of work.
 Source: Recruitment Industry Trends Survey (REC), November 2015
 Source: Jobs Outlook (REC), 26 October 2016
Recruitment & Employment Confederation