Business case

Recognise and promote the business case for supporting young people during the transition from education to work.

Over 900,000 young people aged from 16 to 24 are unemployed in the UK. The ratio of youth unemployment is far higher than adult unemployment and the gap is not decreasing as the economic picture improves.

The business case for youth engagement is clear - organisations need to engage with young people to sustain their long-term competitiveness in a fast-paced, global economy. This is particularly important in the context of an ageing workforce where knowledge transfer is crucial. Helping young people in their transition from education to work is not just an issue of corporate responsibility, it is key to business success.

Our research suggests that the majority (more than 7 in 10) of employers agree that there is a business case for employing young people. We uncovered five key business imperatives that make young people a vital workforce component. These are:

  • building your talent pipeline
  • young people’s unique skills, attitudes and motivation
  • workforce diversity, providing different perspectives, skills and values
  • boosted reputation as an employer of choice
  • investing in young people to grow your own workforce is more cost-effective than trying to buy in skills and talent later.

Read The Business Case for Employer Investment in Young People to explore the key reasons for investment in more detail.

You

A good place to start is your immediate team and senior colleagues, do they recognise the business case and is your organisation doing all it can to support young people? If the answer is no then consider how you can make the case to them. Our Business Case is a good starting point but there are also great examples of why this is important and what other organisations are doing throughout the reports and guides published as part of the Learning to Work programme. If you have a particularly hard sell, then think about encouraging them to meet some young people (via Inspiring the Future), or highlight examples of what others are doing in the space.

Your organisation

Your organisation may be one of the many across the UK that already recognise that supporting young people is a key business issue. The next step is to ensure you are putting this goodwill into practice - ideas for how you can do this are outlined in the other key areas of our youth engagement map. 

The most obvious starting point is recruitment and creating access routes for young people, such as Apprenticeship programmes. However, your business can support young people at an earlier stage via engaging with schools, helping prepare young people and providing work experience opportunities. Continuing to invest in young employees once they join your organisation is also key to ensuring they are equipped for success. Finally, measuring the impact of your youth engagement programmes will help to highlight the value and returns on your workforce investment to employees and investors. 

If your organisation is already doing great things in this space then we want to hear from you. We’re always looking for ways to highlight best practice and weave real life case studies into our research and guidance. If you would like to get in touch please contact us at LearningtoWork@cipd.co.uk 

An Award for Best Youth Initiative is also included in our annual People Management Awards.