The Entry-Level Job Myth: Young Brits Struggle to Break Into the Job Market Without Experience

Virgin Media O2 Pioneers Inclusive Hiring Practices Amidst Growing Career Entry Barriers

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Key Takeaways:

  • 74% of young Brits rejected from ‘entry-level’ roles due to lack of experience.
  • Over a third of 25-34-year-olds feel underqualified for positions advertised as entry-level.
  • Virgin Media O2 launches 200 roles with no experience or CV requirements, focusing on potential.

The Entry-Level Job Dilemma

The job market in the UK presents a paradoxical challenge for young jobseekers: the need for experience to secure entry-level roles. A recent survey commissioned by Virgin Media O2, coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week, reveals the formidable obstacles young Brits face when starting their careers. The survey, conducted by Strand Partners, paints a stark picture of the job market’s demanding nature.

A Barrier to Career Start

The survey indicates that 74% of 25–34-year-olds have been rejected from entry-level roles due to insufficient experience. This trend is contributing to rising NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) figures among 16-18 year olds, the highest since 2012. Furthermore, over three quarters of Brits believe relevant work experience is crucial even for entry-level positions.

Virgin Media O2’s Pioneering Approach

In response to this challenge, Virgin Media O2 is creating around 200 apprenticeship, graduate, and intern positions in 2024, spread across various UK locations. These roles, offering job security and competitive salaries, are unique in that they require no CV or prior work experience, focusing instead on assessing candidates’ skills, strengths, and motivations.

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Leveling the Playing Field

Karen Handley, Head of Future Careers at Virgin Media O2, emphasizes the need for a change in hiring practices. “It’s wrong that many talented young people are being overlooked for entry-level roles because they don’t have prior experience,” she states. Virgin Media O2’s initiative aims to remove barriers and hire based on potential.

Opportunities for Aspiring Young Professionals

The roles offered by Virgin Media O2 cover a wide range, including field engineering and finance, with opportunities for apprentices to learn in-demand skills and gain recognized qualifications. Graduates and interns can explore various departments, aiding in their career path decisions.

A Step Towards Inclusive Hiring

Virgin Media O2’s approach represents a significant step towards more inclusive hiring practices, focusing on potential rather than experience or educational background. This initiative offers a ray of hope for young professionals struggling to enter the workforce.

The Changing Landscape of Employment

This development signals a shift in the job market, where companies are beginning to recognize the importance of opening doors for young talent. Virgin Media O2’s model could set a precedent for other organizations to follow, potentially reshaping the recruitment landscape.


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