Mismatch: Why employers and young people fail to connect

Research by social network Wozedu shows that 35 per cent of young people glean career information from their university, or place of learning, but only 20 per cent of prospective employers attend careers fairs. 

What’s more, just 23 per cent work closely with schools or places of education to find the right candidates. Does this mean that employers are failing to engage with young people?

Wozedu’s CEO Oliver Donovan does: “There is a desperate need for better, more open communication between young people and employers. 

“It’s painfully obvious that employers, and young people embarking on the recruitment process, are looking in all the wrong places to connect with each other in the first place. Then, once a conversation is initiated, there’s a damaging misalignment in terms of each other’s expectations of required skills and experience.”

Mismatched skills

Importantly, the research shows a lack of alignment between employers and young people in terms of skills and qualifications required.

Employers rate people skills (32 per cent), technology skills (24 per cent) and work experience (38 per cent) as being most important in a candidate, but young people place greater emphasis on qualifications, such as possessing a 2:1 degree (48 per cent) or A-levels (34 per cent).

Youth unemployment stood at more than three-quarters of a million as of August 2014, and many people in work feel ill-equipped or unhappy. 

“There is a real urgency to eradicate career misconceptions and encourage closer relationships between the two groups,” says Donovan.

Surprisingly, only 19 per cent of young people say they find the information they need about prospective jobs online. This contrasts directly with the approach taken by prospective employers, of whom one third invest considerably in online advertising and social media. (The next most popular method for employers to identify suitable candidates is through specialist recruitment agencies, with 26 per cent; and a reliance on candidates approaching them directly, at 25 per cent.)

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