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PEOPLE OVER PAPER
Young People: The Challenge of Finding Work

Young People: The Challenge of Finding Work

by Alice De Brunner, Ruby Duku, Felicia Ayodele and Andre Mcleish

Last week, we introduced ourselves to you as the Innovation Volunteers at The Prince’s Trust, a role we all secured after completing our Get into Project Management and Business Analysis programme. This week, we are focusing on the challenges Young People like us face when we apply for jobs. From the extensive lists of requirements, to long-winded CVs, Young People have a difficult time finding work. In this article, we look into these challenges, why they occur and what employers can do to make their job roles more inclusive.

Is it hard for Young People to find work?

Written by Alice

In my experience, one of the main challenges facing us as Young People entering the workforce for the first time is finding the right jobs to apply for. It can be very difficult to decide what job we would like to do which causes anxiety and confusion. For example; I have noticed that more and more Young People are pursuing degrees because of the confusion and pressure to do well earlier in life. This is not helped with society’s pressure on Young People to “grow up” and “find a job” as soon as we finish education because of uncertainty within the modern world.

In my experience, myself and other Young People around me often do not feel prepared for the world of work when they finish school. Generally speaking, schools often spend so much time preparing those of us who wanted to apply to University, my school friends who were not applying for further education, were mostly left to their own devices to work on their CVs and finding the right role for them. However, at 16 (as this was the legal leaving age in 2010), my school did offer a basic session using online forms/quizzes on “what job we should do”, but just because the Young Person is suited to that job, does not mean that we will be good at it or that we will enjoy the job enough for it to become their career.

How many Requirements?!?

Written by Felicia

I found that a lot of “entry level” positions in companies come with a lot of requirements, this proposes that Young People often have to gain work experience before leaving school. Some employers, have deemed that experience is preferred over education, which makes young people who have degrees feel undervalued, when actually, we have achieved something huge!

Furthermore, lots of these “entry level” jobs that I have found online, the “seniority level” of the job description states “entry-level” whereas, the requirements attached to the job descriptions are more suitable for people who have had years of experience in the working world.

Entry level is defined by the dictionary as “the lowest level in an employment hierarchy” i.e. suitable for beginners or first-timers.

I searched for entry-level roles, companies who have identified with that “level” of employment was filtered as a result, on checking through the requirements for the role, I encountered a “major setback”; as some companies asked for over 2 years of experience from an individual who is looking to get their “foot through the door”. I have mostly looked into the IT sector and found that some companies were even asking for “advanced” knowledge in software or programming languages.

The aim of entry-level jobs is to give a head start into the corporate and professional world of work by looking beyond what an individual has and instead at what they “can” do, which is how it should be, not how it currently is.

Is a degree really needed?

Written by Ruby

For me and a lot of other Young People I know, getting a job after our educational life finishes can be a daunting task. I found that not all employers will ensure that job descriptions are clear and straightforward, and when going through to the ‘interview’ stage may seem far away. You’d think that skills and experience are crucial to securing a higher-level job.

As Felicia discussed earlier, some employers seem to value experience over degrees. However, I found that some employers think otherwise – even making graduate level in qualifications is a deciding factor, some even going as far as the institution attended (ideally, recognised!) being a further deciding factor, but with experience level also being listed within the entry-level job requirements. This makes all Young People, whether graduates or not, feel undervalued and under confident.

When looking into different types of job descriptions, I found that employers were asking for specific qualifications, years of experience, and additional skills (e.g. drivers’ license or languages). Therefore, many young people fall short of a ‘yes’ in their application processes. This causes myself, and many other young people feel pressure many young people can stand out.

#PeopleOverPaper

Written by Andre

There are huge benefits in using a primary interview stage, followed by a second interview rather than CVs as the first stage of a job application. This is because some young people are not the best writers and present themselves better in person, and my experience of attending #GetHired LIVE was positive, not only for myself and other young people, but the employers as well. In fact, the employers at the event were able to read the interviewees better in person compared to using just our CVs, and it was easier for them to narrow their choices down for a second interview, once they got the feel if they would be a good fit for their company. I have found that compared to just using CVs, employers are less likely to miss out on someone when you are interviewing them in person rather than guessing what we are like based on CVs.

Competitors at this event include other large-scale careers fairs, and large-scale charity events. However, there is currently no large-scale event that focuses specifically on diverse, young talent. Additionally, no charity has ever tried to host such a large-scale recruitment event, that drives positive outcomes for businesses, young people and creates awareness of the charity.

This is why the Prince’s Trust innovative recruitment event #GetHired LIVE event is beneficial to both the employer and us, the Young People. They provide employers a chance to meet us face-to-face in a “speed-interviewing” style process where they can meet the Young Person and get a feel for who they are and if they are a right fit for the company before inviting them to their place of work for a second interview. Not only does it break down barriers for employers, but also breaks down barriers for Young People as well, fitting in with the Trust’s value of #PeopleOverPaper.

How can you get a good feel for a person based on a CV? Especially when the Young Person is still trying to get a feel the career path they have chosen, and do not have more than their education on their CVs, but they have enough passion and drive to do the job well. Speaking as and for other Young People, we deserve to be seen and heard rather than be seen as a reflection of our CVs.


Want to discover how you can innovate your recruitment process to become more inclusive? Try Get Hired Jobs to access the next generation of diverse talent – no CV required!

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