Data from the Office of National Statistics has highlighted the stark reality of unemployment of Generation Z, with payrolled employment for under 25s having fallen to a new record low of 3.43 million.
While youth charity Impetus notes employment regimes like the Kickstart Scheme are being put on the back burner, we ask if it is fair to keep pushing the next generation of leaders to the side? Who is responsible for fuelling the Generation Z talent pipeline? Is it fair to keep placing the sole responsibility on the country’s employers?
Employers, along with Central Government, are often at the forefront when it comes to reviewing employment responsibilities. However, given the economic down-turn of the last 12 months, should employers really be taking the brunt of criticism when many businesses across the globe are no longer profitable or are in heavy debt?
It is unclear where the line crosses for businesses which are attempting to balance the reality of breaking even with the growing pressure to invest in future talent. If too much pressure is applied, and businesses are forced to place recruitment before profit, it will not just be the new Gen-Z recruits out of work, but it could sadly be the entire workforce – many of whom keep the roofs over the heads of the under-25s.
Stephen Evans, CEO of Learning and Work Institute says UK vacancies are almost back to pre-pandemic levels with significant differences across sectors. Potential opportunities are posed for certain less-affected sectors and industries to take a stand in shifting their focusses to investing in the younger generations. Upskilling Generation Zs with transferable skills, training and knowledge can be a joint-recovery effort carried out by the nation to boost revenue and recover the economy.
There is much to be said for Gen-Zs, also known as The Tech Generation, who may not hold the skills the company needs immediately, but will have extensive and profitable understanding of technology; a win for all businesses as the economy moves closer towards artificial intelligence, automation and virtual spaces
Universities’ core purposes are to educate and prepare students for employment. With the responsibility of training and nurturing the country’s future leaders, universities should ensure that they are paving clear and fruitful pathways for their students in their post-graduation journeys. A great starting point for this is firstly making talent aware of all of the opportunities available to them and the various ways to get there.
Beyond the shockingly high tuition fees, long-term commitments and (currently) virtual learning methods, support must be provided beyond university life, to the students taking the big leap into full-time employment. With more than 50 per cent of students now choosing to go to university, the largest percentage ever recorded, institutions should take responsibility and pride in the talent they are raising.
In the aviation sector only 5 per cent of the pilot workforce is female. This is contrasted to 75 per cent of women making up the cabin crew. Although strides being made to achieve broader diversity and inclusion goals, such as the work of groups such as Women in Aviation, young women in STEM occupations are not aware that a career as a pilot is an option for them, and it again begs the question of who is responsible of preparing our future workforce for the modern work environments?
While it is difficult to pinpoint where the responsibility of preparing and fuelling the young talent pipeline lies, educational institutions must ensure to dispel myths, drive inclusivity, and encourage diversity from the offset. Then, with a well-equipped talent pool, can we effectively future-proof employment and work towards narrowing the tech and gender gaps we know all too well.
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