When we started the Future Proof campaign two years ago, backed by the City & Guilds Group, youth unemployment was still stubbornly high. When we dug deeper into reasons why, our survey showed that a third of young people found applying for jobs difficult, and one in five said a bad process had put them off the company they applied to.
To address this, Business in the Community partnered with the City & Guilds Group, which backed the Future Proof campaign to make the UK the leading place for young people to work. The campaign aims to shine a light on the barriers to employment faced by young people and support employers to make simple changes which will make a huge difference to young jobseekers.
We are proud to say that, since the launch of Future Proof, we have reduced the number of companies asking for previous experience for entry level jobs from 62% to 26%. This was a major barrier highlighted by many young people entering the employment market for the first time.
We have done this by working with companies across the country and across sectors, including law firms, city councils and facility service providers, who have taken a number of steps to make their entry level jobs and apprenticeships more accessible and recruitment processes more transparent.
Our assessment tool, which includes our bespoke Mystery Shopper workshops, has been critical in helping companies understand how their job adverts appear to young people from the point of view of young people and take action. To date we have assessed the recruitment processes of 200 companies and a quarter have already made changes, In addition, over 6,000 users have downloaded our free guides for employers.
In 2017, we launched our hugely successful #JargonFreeJobs campaign, calling on businesses to take action and make job adverts and job descriptions more accessible. We also launched a series of recommendations to support companies to measure the effectiveness of their recruitment processes. According to BITC’s snapshot survey, only 15% of employers regularly use data to measure the effectiveness of their youth recruitment. Without having access to the right data, it’s very difficult to spot barriers to young people in the recruitment processes and evaluate how effective recruitment has been in the long term.
Creating a seamless transition from school to work
We have made huge progress at reducing these numbers but there is still a long way to go. Part of our national goal is to have an impact at a regional level, so we created Future Proof Places and through this we worked with a dedicated group of employers in London, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Bristol. Our vision is to develop a seamless transition from school to work for all young people, by working with businesses to remove barriers they have in the way they attract and recruit young people.
We are hugely proud of the achievements and changes we have made through working with business. However, youth unemployment is still an issue in many areas of the country and we are calling on employers to continually look at their youth recruitment practices and ask them to:
• Re-assess the criteria for entry level roles
• Assess young people against their behaviour and skills rather than on previous experience.
• Create a transparent recruitment process that supports young people at every stage
• Offer feedback to all interviewed candidates