Employers look to apprentices as skills shortage increases

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Young apprentices, school-leavers and graduates are being sought after by an increasing number of employers to help fill job vacancies.

A total of 33% of firms indicated they intend to take on young apprentices, according to the Labour Market Outlook survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

This compares with 26% of employers who revealed they plan to recruit more UK graduates and 12% who expressed an interest in giving jobs to school-leavers.

Gerwyn Davies, labour market analyst for the CIPD, said the findings show that a bleak decade for youth employment is finally coming to an end.

“After a long, dark decade, the prospects for young people are finally looking brighter. The tightening labour market is undoubtedly encouraging more employers to turn to a wider range of younger recruits.

“However, it is also due to a recognition among a growing number of employers that they need to develop talent to limit the potential for future labour shortages and pay pressures.

“The increase in the number of high-quality apprenticeships and the ongoing recruitment pressures faced by employers should mean that the pathway to sustainable employment will be within the reach of more young people.”

In the survey, which was completed by more than 1,000 employers, other common responses to recruitment difficulties included training up existing workers.

But there has been a marked increase in employers looking to hire young people, with the figure shooting up significantly from the 22% recorded during the previous quarter.

Job prospects remain strong, the study found, and the index which compares the proportion of employers planning to recruit with those planning to decrease staff levels up by four points on last quarter.

Private-sector firms are driving much of the predicted growth in employment, the report found.