There is some good news for young people looking for work – whether straight from school, as graduates, or as apprentices.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has released their latest Labour Market Outlook, which shows that the number of employers looking to hire young people has increased dramatically since the spring of 2014.
Employers are turning to young people to close skill gaps in the workplace, with apprenticeships getting the biggest boost. 33% of employers with difficult-to-fill vacancies are looking to take on more apprentices (an increase from 22% over the last 12 months), while 26% say they will be looking to recruit graduates, and 12% will hire more school leavers. It seems that the employers plan on improving the skills of their employees, with the CIPD report saying that 50% of employers will look to boost skills across the board.
Gerwyn Davies, labour market analyst for the CIPD, asserted
After a long, dark decade, the prospects for young people are finally looking brighter,” although he warned, “employers need to support this recruitment drive by ensuring that they have the people management practices in place to support the effective utilisation of skills, which is critical to job retention and productivity.”
The UK has the second highest level of over-qualification in the OECD and unless more employers get better at putting their people’s skills to good use, efforts to boost their and the UK’s productivity will be critically undermined.”
He also noted how the introduction of the National Living Wage could directly impact the number of people under 25 entering employment, reversing trends of recent years to make them “the new winners in a new era for the jobs market.”
Chancellor George Osbourne announced the National Living Wage in his budget this July. The plan is to increase the minimum wage to £7.20 from April 2016 and £9 by 2020. However, since it only applied to those over 25, it could make younger people an attractive source of cheaper labour.
In effect, while prospects look to be improving there may still be concerns over pay rates for young people. So, are wages expected to rise?
The last 12 months has seen an average increase of 2% on wages, although this is not across the board, as some may have got 3%, while other saw their pay frozen. The differences came according to where you work, with Davies explaining, “At one end of the spectrum, workers in occupations where there are skills or labour shortages and thriving sectors such as finance and construction seem likely to get pay increases well above current inflation.”
“However,” he continued, “at the other end of the scale, many workers in areas such as manufacturing and public sector, are seeing only a very modest increase in living standards. In-between, the bulk of workers will continue to see moderate growth in their pay packets but with inflation expected to stay low, they should still feel the benefit of any increases.”
It seems that young people can start to be cautiously optimistic about their prospects right now, which is better news than we have heard in some time!