Business leaders petition Government to take urgent action on ‘employability crisis’

David Woods , 23 Feb 2012


Business leaders from Adecco, Cisco, Business in the Community and Deloitte have called on the Government, educators and employers to work together to ensure the employees of tomorrow have the critical skills needed to secure employment that they have found are missing in too many young people today.

United in the belief that the UK's education system is failing both British business and its workforce, the group of executives supporting the Unlocking Britain's Potential campaign - led by Adecco Group UK believe that greater interaction between schools and businesses is required to ensure that the UK can continue to compete effectively in global markets.

Adecco Group UK & Ireland will be organising a petition signed by major stakeholders in the business and HR community, calling on the Government to take urgent action to solve the UK's employability crisis.

Research conducted by the Unlocking Britain's Potential campaign found that more than a third of employers (36%) believe that the UK's education system is failing to meet the needs of employers today, and that over half of UK workers (52%) think that the British school system does not equip young people with the right skills for work.

Recommendations from the research, that form part of the Unlocking Britain's Potential Report, being launched this week, include: the need for structured collaboration between employers, education, government and other stakeholders to define precisely what we need education to deliver; employers engaging more in education, helping schools, colleges and universities deliver against an employability agenda; wider support to be given to teachers in understanding the needs of employers and the norms of the workplace; and the formalisation of work experience in schools, combined with careers advice to create an 'employment experience' programme.

This week, figures from the Department for Education are expected to show record numbers of 18-24 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

Peter Searle, chief executive of Adecco Group UK & Ireland said: "While it would be an overstatement to say that the British labour market is 'broken', our conclusion is that the UK has a number of substantial, interrelated employment issues that will severely hamper our ability to compete in global markets and will create an ongoing burden on the nation's already strapped coffers, if not addressed as a priority by Government.

"Our education system is failing to equip the future workforce effectively. As a nation we place insufficient value on the basic tools of employability such as behaviour, attitude and communication - in the classroom, the workplace and in the home. As a result, we fear a whole generation of potential workers will be deemed unemployable, and lost to UK businesses.

"For this reason, our policy recommendations focus on placing employability at the heart of education: ensuring educators are fully aware of the challenges businesses are facing, and are able to nuance the curriculum to embed critical workplace skills at the centre of their teaching.

"The issues we have identified are not straightforward, nor are the solutions immediately apparent. Yet they are certainly real and pressing. The Unlocking Britain's Potential campaign is now calling upon the government to take immediate action to instigate a national debate and bring businesses and educators together to focus on finding long-term solutions to the UK's employment problems. Failure to do so will significantly impact upon Britain's future performance in the global economy."


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Simple Solution?

Richard 23 Feb 2012

Surely it's a fairly simple task of business saying "We expect [a, b and c]...applicants are lacking in [b and c]" and the schools/job centres rectifying that. A simple survey website listing options of "This is what we're looking for/people are lacking" which businesses can log in to and hit tick boxs? (ones with highest click-count getting higher emphasis in training)

Enterprise and employability...for all

Catherine Brentnall 24 Feb 2012

Atttitudes and mindsets are formed at an early age and schools have a huge role to play in helping young people meet the challenges and opportunities of 21c life. We work with teachers and businesses to integrate enterprising learning into the curriculum and school life, for all children, as soon as they start school. We launched a campaign last November to urge the government to prioritise this. Have a look at and It's not just an issue for employers, but the million plus unemployed young people who have simply not learned what they need to compete in a fierce global market place where low skilled jobs are increasingly outsourced and automated. There is serious change needed in the culture and systems of education to generate the deep vein of creativity and resilience young people need today.I hope this prompts some debate about the moral purpose of education- to prepare young people for the reality of life in the 21c.

Employability Crisis

Michael Moran 28 Feb 2012

I think it is all too easy for those of us in business to say, it's the fault of the educators. They are just not producing what we want. Sadly, we probably get the school leavers we deserve. Business needs to take a much greater interest in the education process. The fact those leaving schools are not prepared for the world of work, is very much our problem.

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