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Earlier this month Business in the Community (BITC) and the City & Guilds Group found that confusing job descriptions are a major barrier for young job seekers, preventing them from entering the workforce. This impenetrable ‘business-speak’ is leaving those applying for entry level or first jobs unsure about the suitability of roles and what the job actually involves.

Worryingly, two thirds of the young people surveyed by BITC didn’t understand the role they would be applying to and more than a third of the job descriptions assessed contained unclear jargon, acronyms or technical language which put young people off applying.

When applying for their first job, young people need simplicity, clarity and support – not ‘SLAs’, ‘procurement’, ‘fulfilment service’, ‘KPIs’, ‘compliance’ and mergers and acquisitions’.

Employers are making job advertisements unnecessarily complicated, creating unrealistic expectations of what junior roles involve that do match up to the reality. This affects applicants’ confidence, as they feel they don’t deserve a role or aren’t good enough to apply as they are intimated by the job descriptions.

Barclays joins BITC in calling on companies to cut jargon from their job ads to encourage more young people to apply for the jobs they want. We have taken on board feedback from previous applicants and adhere to the guidelines laid down by the BITC, making major enhancements to our website to make our recruitment process more accessible and improve candidate experience.

Previous feedback suggested our website was sometimes difficult to navigate, with some applicants finding it hard to know what programme was right for them. We have since completely overhauled our website so everything is clearly sign posted and user friendly. One thing that was really well received by young people was the story-telling used on Barclays careers site. We plan to build on this by including more case studies, which will include short films featuring real apprentices, background stories, current roles and aspirations for the future. We have made sure to include case studies of the diverse talent we recruit, including school-leavers, carers, and ex-military. This is part of a broader strategy to redefine Apprenticeships and make it clear that we welcome applications from everybody.

A common piece of feedback given by young people is the need to provide a clear timeframe of the application and recruitment process. This is especially useful for young people, who may have limited experience of recruitment. To improve this, Barclays have simplified the assessment process and used animation graphics to explain each stage.

Barclays has also overhauled the ‘Breaking Down Barriers to Work’ section of their website; we are now showcasing the ways in which we are impacting on diverse communities with a focus on age-diversity, disability support and workplace adjustments. We are proud to follow the two tick ‘Disability Confident’ approach to applications and use simple language to encourage candidates with disabilities to disclose the support they need.

We continue to provide a high level of support to young candidates through Barclays LifeSkills which helps young people build the skills and confidence for work. All of the accessible training material is available to candidates and we offer free and structured online training and mentoring calls for those who disclose a disability or request additional support.

When you’ve been working in an industry for a while, it’s easy to forget just how much jargon there is in your industry and how this can exclude the people looking to take their first step. This is why we are committed to removing all technical language and jargon from our entry level roles and call on all UK companies to do the same. It’s so important we make sure our roles are as accessible as possible to open up jobs to a more diverse pool of talent – which is better for employers, employees and British businesses alike.

 Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays

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