YOUNG PEOPLE do not have the right attitudes for the world of work, according to employers.
Many businesses see a youngster’s mindset and general aptitude for the workplace as more important than academic results, but fear school leavers are lacking these vital skills, the CBI/Pearson annual education survey reveals.
It also warns there are continuing concerns about the literacy and numeracy skills of workers, with many firms claiming to have laid on remedial classes for employees.
And it suggests that while many employers are looking for staff with degrees in science and maths-based subjects, some have reservations about both the quantity and quality of these graduates.
The CBI’s survey is based on responses from 291 companies collectively employing nearly 1.5 million people.
The findings show that around three-fifths (61 per cent) are concerned about the resilience and self-management of school leavers, while a third (33 per cent) are worried about attitudes to work.
At the same time, employers rate attitudes to work and a young person’s general aptitude as their top priority when recruiting (85 per cent and 63 per cent respectively), ahead of literacy and numeracy (44 per cent) and academic results (30 per cent).
The report suggests that since attitude is the “single most important consideration” when young people are seeking their first job, “developing a constructive attitude during their schooling is fundamental to working life”.
CBI director-general John Cridland said: “We’re looking for young people that are rigorous, rounded and grounded. The Government has spent a lot of time improving the rigour of studies and qualifications, which is something we support.
“But businesses put more emphasis on attitudes than academic results.
“It’s the rounded and grounded part that isn’t always there. Young people today are more streetwise than my generation, they’ve been to more places, seen more things, their view of life is very streetwise.
“What’s lacking is those skills you need to be able to work with people effectively – working as a team, self-confidence, self-discipline.
“We think young people are leaving school unprepared for the fact that the world of work is a very different environment to school.”
Mr Cridland said that youngsters should not be given lessons on work skills, but should learn them as a general part of their education. “The worst thing schools could do is teach it as a separate subject,” he said “The last thing we need is a GCSE in employability.”
He argued that young people do not have access to decent work experience world and a problem still exists with school careers advice.