Between 1983 and 1986 the UK faced record numbers of unemployment, not seen since the 1930s. Not due to a pandemic, but a recession at the start of the decade gave way to significant changes in the job market. Forward 37 years, fortunately, unemployment is not yet at the 3+ million levels seen then. But, there are parallels. 

In the 1980s Manufacturing and heavy industry were big employers, but the huge economic changes forced them into decline. Ironically, at that time, new jobs in Finance and the services sector which some might say now, are the industries in decline. Not just down to the pandemic and Covid but Brexit too.

What is clear is, that we find ourselves in another industrial revolution (The 4th Industrial revolution - Intelligence), so looking back through history say's that we need to prepare ourselves for this. Unemployment is going to rise, hopefully not to the same levels seen before, but inevitably it will rise despite Furlough extensions and government bonuses to retain employees. And we know the greatest impact is going to be felt among the 16-24-year-olds. 

So as HR & Talent professionals, responsible for supporting the attraction, retention and development of talent. How well are we prepared to support the next generation of employment? Bold announcements from the government such as "Adults in England without A-levels to get free college course" will help. But ultimately it is the industry that is going to make things happen in my opinion through Early Careers programmes, such as apprenticeships and graduate/internship schemes. However, one of my biggest passions is to engage in future talent earlier. We need to make more of work experience, connecting employers directly with future employees through schools and colleges and other youth programmes. We need to help shape the thoughts of young adults about what employment could look like for them. What are the skills that are going to be required? skills such as STEM to develop the analysts, doctors, coders/programmers, scientists of the future.

So, how prepared is your organisation to play a part and share its level of responsibility in developing future talent today? Let's hope we don't have to here "Gis a job. Go on, gis it" again!