Report: Bridging the Gap

Institute for Employment Studies

The 91 paged report looks at employers’ perspective on and experience of good quality youth employment.

It complements previous research focused on young people’s views and experiences of good work, which looked at what good quality work and support means to young people, the enablers, and barriers they encounter, the quality of their experiences in work, and the impact of the pandemic.

The current research explores employers’ views and experiences around hiring and working
with young people, including their perspective on good quality work, recruitment, management, and workplace practices.

The research used a mixed-method approach, including a survey of 1,011 businesses and in-depth interviews with 40 employers. Core to the research was the inclusion of Voices across the UK, findings from a survey of 1,275 young people across the four UK nations exploring respondents’ views and perceptions of the quality of work and their experiences in work.

The aim is to understand how employers’ perceptions and experiences of youth employment are evolving, how they compare to young people’s own experiences, and how this can inform policy and practice around good quality youth employment. The findings from the research are drawn together to present some initial proposals on what can work to improve access to better quality employment for all young people across the UK.

Some key findings of interest

Around a fifth of employers did not hire from the 22-25 age group (21 percent), two in five did not hire anyone aged 18-21 (40 percent), and two-thirds did not hire from the 16-17 age group (68 percent) over the past year.

Employers have limited experience of hiring young people who experience disadvantages. There is a discrepancy between employers’ and young people’s perceptions of good work. Employers feel skills, experience and confidence hinder young people’s access to good work, but also recognise there is unequal access to work. Employers are aware of what makes good work and are confident that they offer it to young people, but their perception of this varies from young people’s.

Read the report here.