Larger employers vs SMEs
The latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD uncovered evidence of a growing trend which may spell good news for young jobseekers and school and college leavers. It seems that organisations are increasingly turning to young talent to address their skills gaps, with a third (33%) of those reporting hard-to-fill vacancies planning to hire more apprentices (compared with just 22% in Spring 2014) and 26% and 12% considering hiring graduates and school leavers respectively.
This trend is a positive sign that more UK employers are recognising the importance of recruiting and developing young people if they are to remain competitive, innovate and grow; for young people too there are tangible benefits, including an increased number of pathways and opportunities – including vocational – open to them and improved employment prospects.
However, despite this good news there is still more to be done, and not all employers should be resting on their laurels just yet. A survey conducted as part of the CIPD’s Learning to Work program, which promotes the role of employers in reducing youth unemployment, found that while large employers are increasingly doing their bit (with 86% reporting that they had recruited at least one young person last year) small and medium-sized employers (SMEs) are lagging behind, with only half having hired someone aged 16-24 in the last 12 months. A similar picture can be seen in levels of SME engagement with schools and colleges, with only 38% offering opportunities to young people to experience the world of work or provide employee volunteer support, compared with 70% of larger organisations.