‘Broken’ recruitment processes deter thousands of young people, report finds

Feb 8, 2016

Article from CIPD

Young people continue to fall victim to “broken recruitment processes” that leave many with lower self-esteem, and a negative impression of the industry they initially sought to break into, according to a joint report from Business in the Community (BITC) and City and Guilds Group.

One in five (22 per cent) young people who had a bad experience of a recruitment process were put off a company completely, while one in ten was put off a whole sector, the survey of 4,000 young people revealed.

The report warned that inadequate recruitment processes are putting talent pipelines in jeopardy, with the potential to significantly damage future success of the business.

According to the survey, one in three young people found the job application process difficult, and of these, 44 per cent said they ended up losing confidence. This led to 26 per cent saying they were less likely to apply for other jobs.

Recruiters are not making it any easier for young people struggling with the process: According to results of a 2015 BITC survey, while 39 per cent of businesses claim to ask for no previous experience for post school-leaver roles, 42 per cent of recruiters are asking what skills they can demonstrate.

Chris Jones, chief executive of the City and Guilds Group, said: “Despite incentives to employ young people, the unemployment rate for 16-24 year-olds is still 13.7 per cent compared to a UK wide rate of 5.1 per cent.

“As competition to attract and recruit young people increases, businesses will lose out unless they change their recruitment processes,” he added.

The survey is published alongside the launch of ‘Future Proof’, a new campaign from the business groups, to help breakdown barriers faced by 18-24 year olds entering the market.

It includes online resources to help organizations breakdown some of the most common barriers faced by young people, including a lack of previous experience (57 per cent); location (41 percent of respondents); to not having the right qualifications (28 per cent); and the ‘cost’ of recruitment process (18 per cent).

Grace Mehanna, campaign director, BITC welcomed the news that some organisations had scrapped UCAS points and A-level grades for entry-level roles.

“We want to work with businesses to help shine a light on the skills they need and open their eyes to the potential of young people, not just looking at those with good academic qualifications and previous experience,” she said.

“The shift in demographics and apprenticeship policy provides businesses with an ideal opportunity to rethink how they recruit young people. We believe this will ensure businesses have a workforce with the right skills, now and in the future.”

Tanith Dodge, HR director, M&S, one of the organisations signed up to the scheme said: “Not investing in the future workforce today will only lead to a talent deficit tomorrow, so it’s important that businesses think about making the workplace accessible for all young people and embracing their potential.”