Only half (46%) of employers plan to hire a young person (16 – 24) in the next year despite new government incentives to do so, according to a report from the CIPD.
CIPD surveyed over 1,000 employers, examining the likely impact of new incentives to boost provision of traineeships, apprenticeships, and six-month work placements through the Kickstart scheme.
The report found that most employers have, so far, deterred away from the government’s plans, with the response to incentives for traineeships (a £1,000 bonus for each new learner taken on) and apprenticeships (organisations who hire a young apprentice will receive £2,000 or £1,500 for hiring an apprentice aged over 25) being “particularly poor”.
The survey found that just 8% of organisations who were not planning to offer traineeships before are considering doing so now, while only 6% of the respondent organisations previously planning traineeships are looking to now scale up their programme.
Additionally, 5% of employers who were not planning to recruit apprentices responded that they were considering it now with 7% of those who were already planning to recruit apprentices would now be encouraged to recruit additional apprentices.
Despite launching in 2013, a third (35%) of employers said they had not heard of traineeships, while only 8% claim to have a good knowledge of them. In response, the CIPD says the Government should improve awareness of traineeships amongst businesses to boost engagement and uptake – and to help young people at the outset of their working life.
The CIPD also wants apprenticeship incentives to be more generous and be better targeted at young people and SMEs to stamp out ‘deadweight’ in the system – where employers, namely larger and public sector organisations, are already planning to recruit apprentices and the incentives have little, if any, impact.
The report went on to highlight that many employers do not have a “strong track record” of taking on young people, with a quarter (28%) saying they had not recruited an education leaver to a first job in the last two or three years. Those that did were found to favour university graduates over college and school leavers.
Lizzie Crowley, senior skills adviser at the CIPD, said: “Employers and the Government need to meet each other halfway to improve employment prospects for young people who’ve been hit hardest by the pandemic.
“On the one hand, our report makes it clear that the Government’s incentives to improve apprenticeships don’t go far enough, particularly given that many employers don’t have a strong track record on them. Equally, not enough employers are aware of traineeships to take advantage of the incentive on offer.”
She added: “On the other hand, employers also need to look beyond graduates and rethink how they are investing in, and developing, young people. Not only can apprenticeships and traineeships be a great way of creating a young talent pool but, at a time when there’s a jobs crisis, they can give young people a much-needed foot in the door.”