Do big graduate employers have a responsibility to help students develop their skills and careers awareness so they can succeed at work? Jez Langhorn, senior VP and chief people officer at McDonald’s, believes they do, and maintains that this goes beyond companies’ own recruitment needs.
He told the audience at the recent TARGETjobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards, at which McDonald’s was the headline partner, ‘All businesses need to remember that no young person enters the world of work as the finished article, and we can’t and shouldn’t expect this from a new recruit.’
While graduates continue to face difficulties finding work, recruiters also struggle to hire candidates with the right skills. Jez told the employers gathered at the TARGETjobs Awards, ‘The market is still tough for many young people and graduates need support in gaining the life skills, knowledge and confidence to secure a role upon graduating. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills recently reported that one in five vacancies are caused by a skills shortage. Through its 2013 Employer Skills Survey, they found that 146,200 vacancies last year were unfilled because of inadequate skills, a figure that has almost doubled in two years.’
He went on to explain his belief that employers had a vital part to play in bridging this gap and tackling skills shortages. Employers could help by offering young people training, support and further qualifications ‘to develop transferable skills and strengthen the abilities they already have.’
‘This not only helps them to perform better in the workplace, but it also gives them confidence and a broader foundation to build their careers,’ he said. ‘I’m proud that over 55,000 qualifications have been achieved by our people over the last seven years, when we first dipped our toe into the world of work-based qualifications.’
However, he added that employers could do even more than offer training. Young people needed to know what to expect from the world of work, and employers needed to join forces to provide them with insight and encouragement.
‘The task of making sure young people have a fulfilling career is not just about training,’ Jez explained. ‘The world of work can be daunting for young people. There is a significant mismatch between the career aspirations of young people and the reality of the job market. We can do something about this – especially if we work together.’
More advice to help you with your graduate job hunt
- Find out more about graduate careers with McDonald’s Restaurants Limited
- Skills and competencies that graduate recruiters look for
- Blog post from Chris Phillips, information and research director at GTI Media (the parent company of TARGETjobs), about McDonald’s and graduate careers
- Find out more about internships, placements and work experience