Provide access routes for young people and implement youth friendly recruitment practices to build your talent pipeline and ensure your organisation is socially and age diverse.

CIPD research has uncovered a clear mismatch between employers’ expectations of young people during the recruitment process and young people’s understanding of what is expected of them. This is hindering young people’s access to the labour market and contributing to high rates of youth unemployment. It is also causing a ticking time bomb of skills shortages for UK businesses, which are unwittingly cutting themselves off from a diverse pool of talent.

There are a number of steps employers can take to help bridge the gap between themselves and young people, in order to make recruitment practices more youth friendly. This includes thinking about how to bring more young people into the business, either by creating new access routes such as apprenticeships, internships, traineeships, school leaver programmes or graduate schemes or by re-designing existing entry-level positions.

The way that roles are advertised is also important and a range of recruitment methods will ensure the role is visible to the widest possible talent pool. Short listing and selection processes should be transparent, so young people know what to expect. You will also get the most out of a young person during interview stage if you help to put them at ease. Finally, where possible provide feedback, by doing this you can directly influence young people’s behavior in the recruitment process and help them succeed in the future.

Read Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus: addressing the young people/jobs mismatch for further insight into the mismatch between employers and young people at the recruitment stage. The CIPD Apprenticeships that Work guide provides information on introducing an apprentice to your organisation.

Issues around mismatch in supply and demand of Apprenticeship vacancies is explored in our The match factor: good practice in Apprenticeship recruitment report which makes a number of additional recommendations to employers and learning providers.


Act as a youth employment champion and look for opportunities to make recruitment practices within your organisation as youth friendly as possible. Read our Recruiting young people: top tips for employers booklet for the key information on how to do this.

Your organisation

Provide entry level job opportunities for young people such as apprenticeships, school leaver programmes and graduate schemes and review existing positions – consider if the role you are recruiting for really requires previous work experience and make sure experience gained through voluntary roles is also recognised.

Review your recruitment methods – ensure your selection and interview practices are suitable for young candidates and provide guidance and training for line managers on how to interview young people.

You could also consider working with your local Jobcentre Plus offices to see whether there is more your organisation can be doing to recruit unemployed young people via the BiTC and Department for Work and Pensions GenerationTalent programme.