Career Guidance – Employers are making a difference

This report summarises data to look at how career guidance from employers and people in the workforce can help students to make better decisions regarding their future careers. Around the world, even in times of high youth unemployment, many employers struggle to find motivated young people with the skills and qualifications they need. And yet, young people today are embarking on their adult lives with more years of education, higher qualifications and greater ambition than ever before. In other words, young people are not converting their higher educational achievement and career ambition into better jobs. Many struggle, especially in times of economic difficulty, to find any employment at all. What they are missing is an understanding of today’s labour market and the preparation to enter into it. This is where employers together with schools can help.

The difference it makes when employers support schools and students

When people in work get involved with schools, young people can expect to become more attractive to later potential employers Schools turn to career guidance to help students visualise and plan their futures in work. Recent work by the OECD reviews data from national longitudinal surveys to evidence how career guidance makes a difference in school-to-work transitions. Following tens of thousands of students over a 10 year period from classroom to workplace and controlling statistically for the characteristics that commonly influence how well people
do in work (academic achievement, social background, gender etc), the surveys show that young people who had participated in guidance activities at school can commonly expect:

» lower levels of youth unemployment
» higher wages
» greater job satisfaction

Employers making a difference

One message is clear from the data: career guidance activities are especially effective when they enable and require students to connect directly with employers and people in work. In other words, young adults who had first-hand contact with the world of work while in secondary school are more employable later on. They compete more effectively for available job opportunities.

The difference that employers make

When students encounter the working world, they have the opportunity to gain authentic and believable insights that schools cannot provide as effectively without their involvement. Such experiences can be very powerful means of broadening aspirations and challenging assumptions about whether job ambitions are achievable. For example, one of the best ways to challenge stereotypical thinking about which jobs are suitable for boys and girls is to give them opportunities to meet with people who are from a minority gender in a particular occupation.
Through first-hand encounters, employers help students better understand the labour market and get ready to enter it. Analysis of PISA 2018 data shows that such students demonstrate the types of career thinking that are associated with better employment outcomes later on. They develop the personal agency that societies increasingly demand of them. The research literature shows that employer engagement with students is most powerful when it is authentic, frequent, personalised, varied and embedded in careers education. And awareness of the world of work should begin in primary schools.

As students get older, opportunities to experience workplaces for themselves become more important: they learn about the distinctive cultures of different vocational areas; are able to confirm (or challenge) their career thinking; develop skills of long-term value; and create personal ties to people who can provide them with references and help them in their search for work.

Long-term benefits: Some examples from the new research

While it is well known that students who work part-time alongside their schooling or who volunteer in the community can typically expect to do better in work later on, new evidence shows long-term employment boosts linked to teenage participation in school-organised career guidance activities.

» Teenagers in Australia who took part in workplace visits through their schools earned 9% more at age 25 than comparable peers. They were also more likely to be satisfied with their careers as adults.
» Teenagers in Canada who took part in school-organised workplace visits were four percentage points less likely to be NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training) at age 25. They were also more likely to be satisfied with their careers as adults.
» In the United States, students who visited workplaces or job-shadowed through their school by the age of 14 earned 10% more than the average 10 years later.
» In Australia, students who attended a careers expo or fair at age 15/16 had greater career satisfaction at age 25/26 than their peers who did not.
» In Canada, students attending a career talk by age 15 could expect to be three percentage points less likely to be NEET at 25 relative to comparable peers who did not.
» In the United Kingdom, teenagers who took part in multiple school-organised career talks at age 15/16 earned 0.8% more per talk attended at age 26 compared to comparable peers who did not.
» In Uruguay, students who attended a career talk by age 15 were 3 percentage points less likely to be NEET at 25 compared to peers who did not.

In addition, students taking part in activities that are positively enriched by employer engagement can also expect better outcomes in later employment. There is evidence for this in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom where students are taught how to apply for a job, develop a good curriculum vitae and do well at interviews. Teenagers who took part in occupationally-focused short programmes (which introduce students to vocational areas and are often enriched by work-based learning) at high school in Australia, Canada and the United States also had better employment outcomes.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @

Meet the Future: How employers gain from helping young people get career ready


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