Employers and young people are failing to understand each other in the early stages of the job search process according to new research by Wozedu, the social network that connects young people and employers.

Where does the disconnect happen?

More than a third (35%) of young people glean career information from their university, or place of learning, but only a fifth (20%) of prospective employers attend careers fairs and less than a quarter (23%) work closely with schools or places of education to find the right candidates. Employers are clearly failing to engage with young people before they embark on their job hunt.

Astonishingly, less than a fifth (19%) of young people find the information they need about prospective jobs online. This contrasts directly with the approach taken by prospective employers, a third (33%) of which invest considerably in online advertising and social media. The next most popular method for employers to identify suitable candidates is through specialist recruitment agencies (26%) and a reliance on candidates approaching them directly (25%).

The lack of communication between the two groups is typified by the fact that more than a quarter (26%) of young people ‘don’t know where to begin’ in the crucial search for employment.

Skills & Qualifications mismatched

The research indicates a lack of alignment between employers and young people in terms of the necessary skills and qualifications required for certain roles.

Employers rate people skills (32%), technology skills (24%) and work experience (38%) as being most important in a candidate, whereas young people place greater emphasis on qualifications, such as possessing a 2:1 degree (48%) or A-levels (34%), highlighting further disparity.

A large number of businesses (38%) also prioritise relevant industry experience over other factors in a prospective employee, but 25 per cent of young people admit they do not have the appropriate contacts to enable them to secure valuable work experience in their chosen industry. Without the help to gain this vital industry experience, young people will continue to fall short of employers’ expectations.

Oliver Donovan, Founder and CEO of Wozedu, comments: “There is a desperate need for better, more open communication between young people and employers. Youth unemployment stands at more than three quarters of a million as of August 2014, and many people in work feel ill-equipped or unhappy.  There is a real urgency to eradicate career misconceptions and encourage closer relationships between the two groups.

“It’s painfully obvious that employers, and young people embarking on the recruitment process, are looking in all the wrong places to connect with each other in the first place. Then, once a conversation is initiated, there’s a damaging misalignment in terms of each other’s expectations of required skills and experience.

“We’re not going to solve the problem of youth unemployment overnight, but this network the first step in bringing these two groups together and ensuring that we don’t fail a generation of young jobseekers.”