John Cridland, CBI director general, said businesses had to act as the school careers advice system was in a ‘perilous state’ and let young people down.
His comments accompany the launch of a report by the CBI and Whitbread which highlights the ‘critical’ role employers can play in encouraging school leavers in to work.
The survey of 1,500 16-19 year olds found that 81 per cent had given ‘considerable thought’ to their future career, with 58 per cent wanting to hold a future management role.
However, only 31 per cent said they had received career advice from employers, which 90 per cent had found ‘useful’.
“Young people expect businesses to step up and show them the career opportunities on offer and a clear idea on how they can progress in their career,” said Cridland.
“Employers are doing some great work on the ground, but we need to get more firms involved. Many young people are worried about making their first steps outside the school gates and it’s clear that the more exposure to the world of work they get early on, from advice to work experience, the better for them.”
The report highlighted career progression as a key concern for young people, with 86 per cent stating that they would be more likely to work for businesses that set out a direct path for promotion.
Andy Harrison, Whitbread CEO, said the findings sent a ‘clear message’ to employers.
“Business needs to step up and invest more time and effort in reaching out to the next generation of employees, managers and leaders,” he said.
“[Young people] are telling us that they are very positive about their future work prospects and would welcome more engagement and support from business.
“This is a pool of future talent that we should be embracing before they even enter the workplace, helping them to fulfil their ambitions.”
People 1st estimates that 993,000 new staff will be needed in the hospitality industry by 2022, 870,000 of which would be replacing existing employees.