Only around one in four businesses are prepared to give education-leavers their first job – but when they do they find their new recruits are generally well prepared for work, a new report has found.
However, college-leavers are reported as being more “work ready” than school-leavers of the same age, the study by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills claims.
It found that just over a quarter of employers – 27 per cent – have recruited at least one education-leaver since 2011, two per cent down on a previous study conducted three years ago.
One in five employers did not recruit any young person who was applying for their first job.
The main obstacle to young people getting their first job was competition in the employment market, the report states. Half of employers who had not recruited young applicants said it was because they had chosen someone older (over 25) with some existing experience.
Despite this, the report finds that most employers believe the education-leavers they have taken on to be “well or very well prepared for work”. Although around 36 per cent said they found them poorly prepared, most commonly citing a lack of experience both of the workplace and life in general. They also complained of a lack of motivation and poor attitude, or them not possessing the appropriate skills required for the job vacancies being offered.
Rates of recruitment of young people also varied considerably between different sectors.
Education was the sector most likely to recruit school-leavers, with 62 per cent of organisations taking on 16 to 18-year-olds, closely followed by the hotels and restaurants sector (59 per cent).
The lowest recruiters of education-leavers included the agriculture sector at 23 per cent and construction (30 per cent).
The finance and business services sectors, meanwhile, rarely recruited school or college-leavers, but were the most likely to take on graduates. However, many employers said they had not recruited any 16 to 18-year-olds because they had had no applicants of that age.
Meanwhile, almost half – 46 per cent – said they had not taken on any young candidates because they did not meet their requirements due to a lack of necessary skills or work experience.
Other reasons mentioned for not employing an education-leaver included a lack of professional or hard-working attitude or the motivation that was needed for the job.
A third of employers said that applicants had not communicated their employability well enough in their CV, covering letter or application form.
The report said that the better educated a candidate was the more likely it was that they would be perceived to be employable.
It states: “Employers generally consider investment in education to pay off in delivering new recruits who are increasingly prepared for the world of work the further they have pursued education.”
The study also showed that employers who had recruited young people and/or education-leavers in the past two to three years seemed to have a greater demand for new labour than other employers.
Download the full report at http://www.ukces.org.uk/ourwork/employer-skills-survey