Young people experienced the greatest rise in unemployment during the pandemic, due to a period of reduced recruitment. However, job vacancies have since reached record levels, and employers, now faced with strong competition to fill roles, have a great opportunity to tap into underutilised pools of talent who have previously been overlooked. Young people from marginalised groups are in particular need of job opportunities, and employers have a critical role to play in helping them get into paid work. 

This practice summary, published in partnership with Youth Futures Foundation, gives evidence-based guidance on how to attract young talent from diverse backgrounds and discusses selection tools and techniques employers can use to ensure an accurate evaluation of their potential.

Explore the evidence

Key recommendations

With every job opening, there are opportunities to reduce disadvantage instead of reinforce it and, at the same time, find new talent that adds value to your organisation. Employers can take action by doing the following:
  • When producing job adverts, make sure they appeal and feel inclusive to marginal or disadvantaged groups. Consider consulting people from the target groups or experts who work with them.

  • Customise recruitment channels and messaging based on local context and target group characteristics – for example, using LinkedIn or job sites may be less likely to reach people from disadvantaged backgrounds than using local community groups.

  • Before starting to select candidates for a job, identify which capabilities are needed to perform well, rather than just age and experience. 

  • To reduce bias, use validated methods of job analysis to identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed by good performers.

  • In selecting candidates, use structured interviews instead of free-flowing unstructured discussions as a good way to ensure both valid and fair appraisals. 

  • Use cognitive ability tests but make sure you select ones that compensate for subgroup differences and therefore do not unfairly disadvantage certain candidates.
Download the CIPD and Youth Futures Foundation practice summary and recommendations for more information. Also see the scientific summary, produced by Youth Futures Foundation and the Center for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa), for further methodology and technical information on the research.

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