According to web polls conducted by Hays, the world leading specialist in workforce solutions and recruitment, young people entering employment don’t have the necessary skills, and relevant work opportunities could be a barrier to obtaining them.
Hays asked over 17,600 respondents globally whether they thought young people had the required skills to enter the world of work when leaving education. 69% of people responded by saying they didn’t think they did have the necessary skills and the remaining 31% by saying they thought they did.
In a separate poll, Hays asked nearly 12,500 respondents what they thought was preventing young people from gaining the necessary skills to secure employment. Almost half (45%) of respondents claimed that a lack of relevant opportunities was the main barrier to achieving this, while 28% believed that careers and skills insights were not readily available to them. 14% felt access to education was the main barrier for them and 13% believed it was access to the right tools or technology.
Commenting on the results, Natasha Ishak, Regional Director of Hays Malaysia, said, “It’s in the interest of organizations to ensure that those entering employment are equipped with the required skills and that opportunities are afforded to them. So, businesses and educators must work together to address these issues.”
Developing skills while in education
The global pandemic has had a negative impact on those in education and negatively impacted their work experience opportunities. Many young people have missed out on a conventional introduction to the world of work, making it difficult for those leaving education, or at the beginning of their careers, to gain the necessary experience.
Technology is also transforming many aspects of the world of work, meaning the skills that are sought after by employers are continually changing. As a result, careers advice and the skills that are being taught in formal education are at risk of falling behind what is required in the current world of work.
Business leaders could facilitate the sharing of practical, honest, real world careers advice to young people still in education, such as mentorship programs or industry work experience days.
Natasha, said, “Supporting young people to ensure they have a foundation for a successful long-term career is vital to our future talent pipeline and plugging skills gaps in the longer-term. Businesses can help to bridge the gap between school and the world of work by working with educators to help frame the curriculum so we can be sure it is as relevant as possible for the new era of work.”
Offering additional support once in work
Businesses should also take into consideration that those leaving education may need additional support to help develop their skills. Organizations can use training to ensure new staff develop the necessary skills. Mentoring, coaching, project involvement, on-the-job learning and stretch opportunities will also ensure entry-level staff are given the groundwork they need for a successful start to their career.
Natasha, commented, “Some organizations implement a two-way mentorship scheme in which senior and junior colleagues train one another with relevant skills and knowledge. This boosts these employees’ confidence in two ways: firstly, by allowing them to develop useful skills and, secondly, by proving that their current skillset and experience is of real value to you and others.”
Organizations should also consider thinking beyond set pre-requirements. Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, previously said, “It shouldn’t matter where a candidate went to university, or even if they went to university at all. What matters is that they are the best person for the job. What matters is their potential. So, widen your net to consider those who have completed apprenticeships or vocational educational training going forward – the focus shouldn’t just be on university education.”