Daily Telegraph 17th July 2014 - Shaun Thomson
As the graduate class of 2014 enters the job market, many will be will be making their applications to SMEs, which employ 58% of the UK’s private sector workforce. However, according to a survey of 1,000 small business owners, 75% believe that degrees are less valuable than ten years ago.
The research was commissioned by Sandler Training (UK), a business development consultancy, to get insight into small businesses views on youth unemployment.
83% of small business owners said that they were worried about youth unemployment. This rose to 91% in the North West, one of the capitals of youth unemployment in the UK. But over half (54%) felt that the Government/ schools are responsible for youth unemployment. Only one in four (24%) thought that businesses were accountable for the issue.
Of the businesses surveyed, only one in five (21%) had recently hired 16-24 year olds. For 56% of these businesses it wasn’t a good experience. 38% of respondents said it was because they didn’t have the right skills, 35% thought they didn't have the right attitude and 26% were frustrated because they didn't stay for very long.
Shaun Thomson, CEO of Sandler Training (UK) comments: “There is clearly a stalemate between small businesses and the Government, which is being perpetuated by the bad experiences that many small businesses are having when they recruit young people.
“But rather than tarring young people with the same brush and passing the buck to the Government, small businesses must step up and take responsibility. There are so many talented, high quality young candidates entering the market. To find them, small businesses must put processes in place to identify the applicants that have the right attitude, who would fit in well with the company culture and can be developed over time.”
When it comes to filling their entry-level positions, small businesses almost evenly split on whether they would hire apprentices or graduates, but apprentices pipped grads to the post with 51%. But small businesses predicted that in five years time they would be hiring 20% more apprentices, but only 7% more graduates.
Shaun Thomson adds: “For the young people themselves it’s important to think beyond a qualification. Finding a business that has similar values will ensure an enjoyable working environment, as well as an opportunity to develop skills and a long-term career.”