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Half of young people feel unprepared for work, according to CBI report

The difficulties of the current job market are affecting young people, with a lack of opportunities hindering their chances of finding work, while others feel optimistic and intrigued about the potential of new technologies to change the workplace

Almost half of young people feel unprepared for work, according to a survey conducted by British employers’ group the CBI.

The poll of more than 1,000 people between the ages of 17 and 23 found that 49% felt school had not prepared them for the world of work and 23% did not know where to go for careers advice.

According to those questioned in the survey, the main obstacle to progression into a career is a lack of opportunities in their area, with 23% struggling to find suitable job opportunities where they live.

A further 21% claimed a lack of opportunities in the sector they are interested in was to blame, while low salaries (19%) and lack of clear career route for young people (18%) are also preventing young people from getting a job.

CBI president John Allan said: “It’s disturbing to find that around half of young people feel their education has not prepared them for the world of work, at a time of great economic uncertainty and technological change.

“Teachers, schools and colleges deserve better support and business must play its part.”

 

What should employers do to attract young people?

Work-life balance was one of the top priorities for young people, with 32% listing it as their top preference.

Work culture, length of commute and job security also figured highly on the list of factors they consider when choosing a company to work for.

Although there has been much discussion about the threats new technologies pose to jobs, young people seem interested in the impact AI and automation could have on future careers.

Some 44% said they felt “intrigued”, while 26% were optimistic and 25% were worried.

Simon Winfield, managing director of recruitment agency Hays UK and Ireland, said: “Respondents tell us that they are intrigued and optimistic about new technologies and how they might affect their future career.

“Employers should take advantage of this as many invest in technology to improve efficiencies and processes and engage the younger generation to support this.

“As an employer, demonstrating that you are willing to support the next generation whilst they are still in education will pay dividends in attracting the next generation of talent.”

Peter Lacy, senior managing director at consultancy Accenture and UK lead for Accenture Strategy, said: “We need to equip young people for tomorrow’s workplace as well as today’s.

“New technology is in the process of shaking up the labour market like never before and young people, who have grown up as digital natives, are primed to adapt quickly to these changes.

“Business has a huge opportunity to harness this youthful energy and enthusiasm which will help fuel competitiveness, but they must provide better access to the workplace as well as opportunities to learn new skills.”