According to a recent study by the Work Foundation, youth unemployment has increased in the UK at a faster rate than any country in the G8. This means that it can’t simply be blamed on the economic downturn, as it so often has.  For the sake of future growth in the UK, there’s an urgent need to not only understand why this issue is prevalent, but also for measures to be put in place to help our young jobseekers.

It’s been suggested that the government should follow the lead of countries, such as Germany, by including more apprenticeships.  But, in order for new measures to be successful, there is a great need for businesses to really understand and see the value of emerging talent – the section of the workforce that includes school leavers, apprentices, interns and graduates.

Added to this, the talent landscape is changing, driven by multiple factors including: the increased recognition that hiring young people can reduce costs; the concept of the war for talent; and the need to prepare for a possible retirement cliff. All of these elements can lead to confusion around how best to put a programme in place.

In order to tackle youth unemployment and ensure there is a sustainable talent pipeline for the future, approaches need to be tailored to cater for specific needs. Employers have to recognise that their emerging talent consists of varied individuals with skills and experiences at different levels, as was discussed by Brian Sinclair – Head of Freshers Recruitment at Capgemini UK – in a recent Ochre House webinar. When it comes to creating an apprenticeship rather than a graduate programme, for example, any material such as brochures will be going to schools rather than universities. Consequently, they need to be tailored to teachers and parents as well as the students themselves if they are to attract individuals to the scheme.

As it stands, too many organisations are making common mistakes in their emerging talent programmes. Often, they aren’t linked to other talent programmes (such as succession or leadership), there’s too much focus on a process driven approach rather than a value driven approach, and they aren’t necessarily aligned to business goals. However, if the right steps are implemented, having a process in place can give a company a huge competitive advantage by ensuring there is a robust talent pipeline. And, if understanding emerging talent can help to reduce youth unemployment, it’s clear that it will be beneficial for the economy as a whole. 

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