A third of 16-21 year olds (32%) in the UK lack confidence in finding a high quality job locally due to a lack of awareness of opportunities (35%), and worries over their experience (56%). These are the top findings of a report published today by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and EY Foundation – Age of Uncertainty: Young people’s views on the challenges of getting into work in 21st Century Britain.

The report, based on a survey of 1,510 16-to-21-year-olds in the UK conducted by Populus, finds that one in two (56%) young people said that they think it is difficult to get the experience they need to get a job they want. These factors affect those from lower-socio economic groups, who are considerably more likely than their peers to lack confidence in getting a job locally (33% compared to 25%).

63% of young people have the ambition to lead a team, with a lack of awareness of local opportunities meaning that many look further afield for challenging roles. Two in five (40%) of 16-21-year olds aspire to become the boss of a company, 63% would like to lead a team, and 37% would like to start their own business.

Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, says: “Young people aspire to become leaders but it’s currently luck of the draw whether they get the necessary chances to learn how. We need employers and educators to help the next generations to develop practical skills and confidence from a younger age. If we are to succeed in creating regional powerhouses outside London then we must have home-grown leaders. Making management and leadership skills part of the school curriculum will help bridge the gap between employers and the next generation of workers.”

Maryanne Matthews, chief executive of EY Foundation, says: “What young people are saying loud and clear in this report is that there is a disconnect between having an experience(s) of work and the confidence to get a job, especially if they come from a low-income household. And while we are hearing that many employers, schools and colleges across the country are doing great things and offering inspiring experiences of work, there are still too many young people who are not getting this access – and they are calling for it! We want every young person, in every region across the UK to have the same systematic and high-quality experiences of work with local employers. Greater levels of collaboration are needed to fix this – and that’s what the recommendations in this report are all about.”

Employers urged to back school-to-work agenda

CMI, the EY Foundation and the CBI are calling on employers and schools to back a school-to-work agenda as part of the national curriculum to give young people fairer access to workplace opportunities and to improve their employability. Currently schools are almost twice as likely to offer information on traditional degrees (86%) than new apprenticeship routes (48%).  The report proposes a new syllabus setting out fair and equal choices and an accredited route to management skills.