The Kids Aren’t Alright: Young People Downbeat about Job Prospects


A study by global recruitment firm Hays demonstrates a notable pessimism among young people about their career prospects in spite of the recovering economy and growing job market. We discuss why they are feeling so despondent and how recruiters and companies can help increase positivity.

Pessimism Amongst the Young
One thousand people were questioned as part of the study by Hays and a surprising 20% of 18 to 24 year olds say they are downbeat about their prospects for the future. This is in contrast to the smaller 14% of 25 to 34 year olds who are slightly more confident about their potential careers.

This may be surprising news to many that consider the prospects of an average university leaver or young person to be better than in previous years, but the figures suggest a despondency among young people about how prepared they are to join an adult workforce. This could be due to a number of factors, the most prevalent of which is a lack of information from schools and colleges about how best to achieve their desired career and what sources to go to for further information.

How Can Organisations Help?
Universities and colleges must be mindful of the lack of confidence young people have in their prospects and create programmes of communication through which students can be aware of the qualifications, attributes, soft skills and characteristics they need to display in order to reach their desired job – rather than achieving a degree that may have little or nothing to do with their future. Young people should be more aware of the vocational training and apprenticeships available to them too, as these can aid them in finding their niche as well as filling the skills gap which is a big concern for many businesses today.

Financial instability may also be a factor influencing youth pessimism as many leave university with thousands of pounds worth of debt due to rising tuition fees. After leaving full-time education there may be an increased desire to find a stable job in order to clear student loans, rather than actively searching for a job that will offer them emotional fulfillment as well as a good salary.

Promoting Skills Training
With a large shortage of skills causing problems for many companies, the answer to both this problem and the one of disillusioned youth could be an increased promotion of apprenticeships and vocational training in the areas which are lacking. This includes the engineering, computer science, energy and construction sectors who are constantly searching for newly educated employees. This may inspire a lower rate study of more existential subjects in favour of specialised training which can offer young people a more fulfilling hands-on role.

The importance of an encouraged and contented youth is huge as they will be the generation who continue to grow the economy and therefore must be passionate and educated about being part of the working world.

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