Young people don’t believe they are being taught the skills businesses will be looking for, report claims

New research from LifeSkills created with Barclays reveals a glaring gap in the skills young people say they are being taught and those that businesses will want in 10 years. Digital skills and problem-solving among the top skills 14-25 year olds, and their parents, think employers will want, yet nearly half of young people say they haven’t been taught them

New figures find nearly fifty percent (48 per cent) of young people believe they are not being taught the skills employers will be looking for in entry-level candidates in the future.

The latest research from LifeSkills created with Barclays used the findings of the Future Work Skills 2020 report, which identified the skills employers would look for in entry level recruits over the next decade. The LifeSkills Barometer – a biannual survey conducted by LifeSkills created with Barclays – then asked 2,000 young people and their parents to select the skills they believed would be most important to businesses in the next ten years, and if they were being taught them.

The young people surveyed and their parents were united in their belief that the top three skills required by employers in the next decade will be: IT skills (47 per cent), problem-solving and spotting mistakes (43 per cent and 46 per cent respectively), and working with people from different generations and backgrounds (43 per cent and 50 per cent respectively).

In contrast, the skills businesses say will be most important in entry level candidates in 10 years will be:

  • Ability to reason and prioritise
  • Ability to work effectively in large teams
  • Ability to solve problems and spot mistakes
  • Ability to work with people of different generations and backgrounds
  • Ability to understand complex data 
  • Ability to communicate through video/audio rather than writing
  • Ability to deal with lots of information at one time and multi-task
  • Ability to specialise in one area but also be good at a broad range of subjects
  • Ability to get the most out of working environments

According to the LifeSkills Barometer, the majority of young people did not recognise how important these skills would be to businesses in the future. Two-thirds of young people (66 per cent) didn’t know that prioritising workloads, having skills in a broad range of subjects (66 per cent) or working in large teams (65 per cent) would be required by employers in the next decade. 

Kirstie Mackey, head of LifeSkills created with Barclays, said: “Almost fifty percent of young people tell us they don’t believe they are being taught the skills needed to be employable in 10 years. This is unacceptable. As the experts in the area, and those likely to be most affected by a skill shortage, businesses must work with education providers and the Government to ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed when they leave education. That’s why we launched LifeSkills created with Barclays: to connect young people with local businesses offering work experience and to ensure they gain important employability skills in the classroom.”

LifeSkills created with Barclays is a free education and work experience programme that connects business, education providers and young people to make their transition into work easier. Young people can use the LifeSkills website to complete a range of interactive resources to learn everything from how to write a CV through to matching their skills to a career. The more tasks they complete, the more points they can gain to unlock work experience opportunities. The curriculum linked programme also provides free, unbranded lessons and workshops for teachers across three modules: people, money and work skills. In addition, teachers can match their pupils to local work experience opportunities.

Nick Newman, founder of National Careers Week, said: “It’s essential that young people not only understand the skills employers will be looking for in the future but are also given the appropriate guidance and support to develop them. LifeSkills National Careers Week exists to help schools deliver the careers education young people need and encourage businesses to work more closely with schools in their local area.”

To boost awareness and ensure young people have the skills they need for their transition into work, LifeSkills created with Barclays is sponsoring National Careers Week for the third year. LifeSkills National Careers Week (LNCW) runs from 2-6 March and aims to highlight the importance of careers advice and guidance. During LNCW, schools, colleges and education providers are encouraged to focus on careers by bringing together students, local employers and advisers through a variety of careers events and activities including; daily drop-in workshops; careers fairs and employer visits.



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