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Costain Joins Nationwide Commitment To Fight Unemployment

15 November 2013

Business in the Community (BITC), the charity that champions responsible business, today launches a new national programme to help businesses scale up the number of unemployed people they recruit.  The ‘Generation Talent’ initiative is driven by a consortium of 15 champion businesses, including Costain Group, and has the backing of 90 UK employers who have identified that by making small changes to their recruitment process they can make 25,000 jobs available to the unemployed.

For the 2.47 million unemployed people in the UK there are significant challenges in getting out of the trap of unemployment.  92% of businesses use informal methods such as word of mouth to recruit a portion of entry level staff, automatically cutting off many people from even knowing the job is advertised.  For these people, the Jobcentre Plus is often their primary route to employment.  The stigma around unemployment adds another barrier, with 72% of managers considering unemployment for six months or more as a negative indicator of a candidate’s ability. 

Costain is part of the early adopter group that has spearheaded the Generation Talent initiative, as part of a drive to improve the recruitment of unemployed people within the construction/engineering sector.

Catherine Warbrick, Corporate Responsibility Director at Costain, said: “Businesses need to make the most of the talent that is out there. Unemployment can result from a range of factors, unfortunately conscious and unconscious bias can sometimes stop people tapping into that talent.  This is something that is being addressed by Generation Talent.” 

Businesses need to open their eyes up to unemployed talent – particularly young talent – and through small changes, they can reap large rewards:

- Find out if current recruitment processes automatically sift unemployed applicants out 
- Reassess what qualifications and experience are really needed for entry level roles and instead emphasise importance of aptitude and attitude during recruitment
- Advertise roles through the Jobcentre Plus, which currently has 2.47 million people seeking employment.  
- Take the ‘Generation Talent Self-Assessment Tool’ test to help managers involved in recruitment identify and tackle any internal bias towards unemployed people during recruitment
- Use the new Generation Talent initiative, which offers a bespoke account management service from Jobcentre Plus that centralises an organisation’s regional and national recruitment needs

Esther McVey, Minister for Employment, said: “Jobcentres work with thousands of motivated, aspirational, young people who are just looking to get their foot on the career ladder but unfortunately, businesses do not always know how to tap into that talent.  That's why we launched 'Generation Talent' with Business in the Community - a campaign that is all about refusing to allow the enthusiasm and potential of our young people to be ignored.  Together with BITC we are calling on businesses to explore what more they can do to make a difference and to take up the tailored support available to help make that happen.  By giving more opportunities to unemployed young people they will be leading the way in an important arena, and I am convinced that they will see dividends for their own businesses at the same time.”

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said: “Unemployment rates remain high, particularly for young people. As long as businesses are not targeting unemployed people to fill vacant positions, these rates will not change fast.  Through Generation Talent, businesses can start to address this barrier.  A responsible business is one that ensures opportunities are available to all, regardless of employment status, and by making small changes to recruitment processes they can unlock a generation of untapped talent and make a dent in unemployment figures.”

The new Generation Talent service streamlines how businesses approach and recruit unemployed people through Jobcentre Plus and will advise businesses on how to recruit work-ready young people.  All the usual Jobcentre Plus services will be available to help businesses find the right person, and they will also provide candidates with support to help them succeed during the application and interview stages of recruitment.

To take the ‘Generation Talent Self-Assessment Tool’ test or sign up to Generation Talent please click here

The 15 Generation Talent ‘Champion’ companies are: Asda, BBC, City & Guilds, Compass, CIPD, Costain, Direct Line, ISS, Jaguar LandRover, ManpowerGroup, Midland Heart, Morgan Sindall, National Grid, Pertemps, and Whitbread.