Bridging the gap

Making young people a vital part of every workforce

Orlando C, Winton A, Alexander K |   | Institute for Employment Studies | Jan 2023

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This report looks at employers’ perspective on and experience of good quality youth employment. It complements previous research focused on young people’s views and experiences of good work, which looked at what good quality work and support means to young people, the enablers and barriers they encounter, the quality of their experiences in work, and the impact of the pandemic (Orlando, 2021). The current research explores employers’ views and experiences around hiring and working with young people, including their perspective on good quality work, recruitment, management and workplace practices. 

The research used a mixed-method approach, including a survey of 1,011 businesses and in-depth interviews with 40 employers. Core to the research was the inclusion of Voices across the UK, findings from a survey of 1,275 young people across the four UK nations exploring respondents’ views and perceptions of the quality of work and their experiences in work.

The aim is to understand how employers’ perceptions and experiences of youth employment are evolving, how they compare to young people’s own experiences, and how this can inform policy and practice around good quality youth employment. The findings from the research are drawn together to present some initial proposals on what can work to improve access to better quality employment for all young people across the UK.

This report is the latest output from IES work funded by the Health Foundation around improving the quality of work for young people. This has included a suite of resources targeted to youth employment partnerships and focused on ‘what works’ evidence, alongside a large scale youth-centered research programme centering on young people’s perspectives on what good quality work and support means to them. This project intends to build on our work with national governments and local areas, and to inform work next year on wider systems reform.