From education to employment

Young Londoners hopeful about job prospects

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Despite a challenging economic outlook and a cost-of-living crisis, young Londoners are relatively upbeat about their future career prospects. That’s according to a new survey published today (Wednesday 16th August) ahead of A-Level results day, by the capital’s leading business campaign group BusinessLDN. 

Fresh polling shows that almost two-thirds(63%) of London’s 16-18-year-olds are feeling relatively optimistic about their future career prospects compared to just 8% who feel negative and 29% who feel unsure. Over 500 16-18-year-olds who live in London and are in education took part in the survey, carried out between 15 – 19th June 2023. Healthcare and medicine (15%) are the most popular career path for respondents, followed by finance (14%) and law (13%). In contrast,a far smaller proportion want to pursue a career in a trade (1%), hospitality, professional services such as management consultants, or as an influencer (all 3%).

Obtaining in-person placements were difficult post-pandemic but the survey also shows just over half (57%) of London’s 16-18-year-olds have undertaken work experience in the last two years, 30% didn’t do any work experience, and 13% were unsuccessful in obtaining any. Of those who secured work experience, 61% agree it has positively affected their ability to choose a future career path compared to 15% who disagree.

BusinessLDN, which runs Skills London, the UK’s biggest jobs and careers fair, is calling for urgent action to ensure young Londoners are equipped with the skills they need to succeed. This includes creating a one-stop shop careers advice service, reforming the apprenticeship levy and encouraging more businesses to offer work experience placements. It comes weeks after it set out a slew of recommendations to tackle skills shortages, address inequality and boost labour market inclusion in London as part of its leadership of The London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), with the capital’s other leading business groups. 

Muniya Barua, Deputy Chief Executive at BusinessLDN, said: 

“It’s good news that young Londoners are feeling upbeat about their prospects but more needs to be done to ensure the skills system supports their ambitions and to equip them for the jobs of tomorrow.

“The Government should reform the apprenticeship Levyto boost take up and devolve more powers and funds to the Mayor so he can create a London-wide careers service to provide high quality advice to jobseekers. 

“Young people clearly value the role of work experience when it comes to helping them make choices about their future careers and we encourage firms to ensure they offer placements and jobs fairs like Skills London to give young Londoners a taste of the workplace and help them develop critical skills.”

The survey also found that more than three-fifths (61%) listed strong communication and writing among the top three skills they felt necessary to achieve their dream jobs. Soft skills (39%), such as good interview skills, and digital skills (37%) were both included in their top three career skills by over a third of those surveyed.

Skills London is free to attend and takes place in November at ExCeL London.

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