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Business Leadership

by Chris Lain


The Recruitment Challenge For The Next Generation

After attending our charity partner UpRising’s gala dinner recently, Consultant Chris Lain shares his thoughts on the recruitment challenges facing young people today.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Uprising Gala Dinner, which showcased the Emerging Leaders Network from those young people that had been through the various UpRising programmes. Along with a number of my colleagues, we have been supporters of Uprising over the last 18 months and have taken part in a number of these initiatives including mentoring, interviews days, speaker panels and providing work experience – all to help young people overcome employment challenges.

With guest speakers such as broadcaster Jon Snow, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Rushanara Ali MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, Uprising secured high profile support to continue to showcase the excellent work that they are doing, with young people from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds.

What was really interesting and impressive to hear, was the stories of the “UpRisers” on our table, who were part of the Emerging Leader Programme. These young people demonstrated ambition, hard work and the desire required to make a real success of their careers. It was also very rewarding to see candidates there who Alium had supported.

A New Generation Of Apprentices?

A criticism that has often been aimed at such young people or “Millennials” is that they lack these particular qualities. However, given the movement of both the public and private sector in increasing their intake of apprentices, I believe competition for these supportive schemes will intensify, as they did with the graduate programmes previously. These softer skills will play an increasingly important part when companies are deciding on their selection criteria.

A number of major employers are looking to double the amount of apprentices that they employ over the next few years, as the general view is that the commitment and longevity of service that they will receive from a school leaver, will be greater than that of a graduate.

Looking forward, it seems apprenticeships will either outstrip or at least be equal to that of the traditional graduate programme. This may also lead to a shift in the “candidate” market, as they choose to join an organisation straight from school and are provided with the relevant training and put through their qualifications, whilst earning a wage - not being saddled with a £30k+ debt that they would get from attending university.

I feel that the work that organisations like UpRising play in equipping young people and in particular, those from unrepresented backgrounds, will increase in importance. I see them running alongside the various corporate recruitment programmes, as they are able to offer introductions and access to senior leaders, whilst providing essential coaching, support and mentoring, that may not happen without them.

I have been in recruitment for over 10 years and have seen a number of changes to the way that the market operates, through various means - whether it has been around technological advances or candidate and talent attraction and retention, to name a few. Although outside of the scope that I recruit in, I will watch with interest on how the next few years will develop and shape up around this area of young people’s recruitment.

What are your thought on recruiting the next generation? Have you been involved with the recruitment of apprentices or graduates? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the Author

Chris' work focuses mainly in the private sector where he has the responsibility for identifying and assessing candidates for specific roles and the delivery of interim assignments, whilst also establishing long term, mutually beneficial relationships with candidates and clients across a variety of industries.

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