Marginalised young adults hold key to Britain's looming labour shortage, new business coalition urges  header image

Marginalised young adults hold key to Britain's looming labour shortage, new business coalition urges

25 April 2018

  • With labour shortages looming in construction, agriculture and retail, a cross-sector coalition is today calling on business to target talented, marginalised young people outside the mainstream labour market.  
  • The new coalition comprises FTSE companies - including the Berkeley Group and M&S - academics, professional institutes and youth charities. 
  • Despite record levels of employment, research shows nearly 500,000 young adults aged 16-24 are not in education, employment or training (NEETS) and not looking for a job; and nearly 40% of them don't have a single individual in their household in full-time work.
  • Meanwhile, results from the Labour Force Survey show that hundreds of thousands of 16-18 year olds are simply classified as 'unknown', indicating the number of young people not in education or employment could in fact be much larger than reported.

£90 million investment recently announced by the Prime Minister to help tackle inequalities in youth unemployment highlighted by the Race Disparity Audit.

A new guide launched today (Monday 16 April) by a business coalition aims to help major employers bring talented, marginalised young people into full-time work. It draws on the experience of companies such as M&S, BAE Systems, and the Berkeley Group, as well as the Movement to Work, a collaboration of leading UK employers providing work placements for young people struggling to get their first step on the career ladder.

The Berkeley Foundation supports Street Elite, an initiative delivered by the Change Foundation, which uses the power of sport and mentoring to help young people on the edge of gangs and crime back into work or education, Since 2012, Street Elite has worked with over 300 young adults from estates across London, of which 74% have successfully found jobs or a place in college.

M&S run a programme called Marks & Start which supports around 3,000 people a year. This has supported one young single mum who had struggled to find a shift which would allow her to look after her kids. She had been out of work for four years but is now employed in one of their stores: "My shifts are really good - 7am to 12pm - and the kids can see how much happier I am now I'm working. I feel 100 times more confident because I realise now I'm just as good as anyone else."

The coalition behind the new guide is challenging companies not just to engage with young people who might be temporarily unemployed but with talented young adults from a range of backgrounds who might face significant barriers to work. This would complement the £90 million investment recently announced by the Prime Minister to help tackle inequalities in youth unemployment highlighted by the Race Disparity Audit.

Peter Cheese, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development said:

"Endlessly hiring mini-me's may be easy but it's unsustainable, not least because the traditional talent pools are over fished. Reaching young adults who are outside the system demands conviction and effort but it brings different insights and thinking to your organisation, as well as fulfilling a wider social purpose."

Rob Perrins, CEO of the Berkeley Group and Chairman of the Berkeley Foundation, commented: "People ask us, why recruit someone who might not be an easy fit? The answer is, these young adults bring a whole new dimension to our business and we need different kinds of talent, not just more of the same. I also believe they have a right to have a chance and companies like us can have a transformational impact on society if we choose."

The new Employers Guide can be found at www.talentedpeoplework.co.uk.