Developing the Talents of the Next Generation – British Chamber of Commerce report

Unemployment in the United Kingdom is falling, but remains a significant issue, particularly for young people. The latest government figures indicate that there are 747,000 16-24 year olds out of work, a rate of 16.6% – considerably higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%.

Findings from the British Chambers if Commerce Workforce Survey, published today, shed some light as to why high unemployment persists in this age category. They surveyed nearly 3,000 organisations to find out what their attitudes towards young people were, and why they are less willing to hire them.

Entitled “Developing the Talents of the Next Generation”, the survey found that 54% of firms believe that graduates are not prepared for work and 88% of firms believe that school leavers are not prepared for work. This includes a lack of soft skills (57%) including communication, and a lack of careers advice (46%).

John Longworth, Director General of the BCC, said:

Many businesses are worried that… hiring a young person is a risky move… Firms need young people that are resilient, good communicators and understand how to work as part of a team.

This isn’t about pointing the finger at young people – it is a joint responsibility between businesses, the education system and government to provide the right skills and support that young people need to make it in the world of work.

The key recommendation from the report was that stronger links between businesses and education providers is needed.

Helen Robinson