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Youth Unemployment at the World Economic Forum: the Unrecruitment Mission

Jan 31st, 2013Business, International, Opinion

In a speech at the World Economic Forum on the 21st of January, the Young Global Leader Rajeeb Dey and CEO of, and UK-based social enterprise for job placement, said:

“For every person hired, an average of 80 are rejected. The Head of Recruitment is actually the Head of Rejection. Every rejection chips away at a candidate’s confidence, leaving them downtrodden and often depressed – not the best attitude with which to approach the next interview. This vicious circle has to be broken.

What we need to develop is a process that removes the innate structure of rejection seen in traditional recruitment and gives every applicant powerful development opportunities, regardless of whether they get a job. I call it UnRecruitment ; the removal of our current employment single-mindedness, in favour of exciting training possibilities for all.”

Rajeeb reflects on his week at WEF and his new mission – Uncruitment.

‘Resilient dynamism’ – these are the words that would underline this year’s World Economic Forum; the idea of optimism and strength in the face of hardship. And with 75 million young people currently unemployed worldwide, nowhere is this philosophy more appropriate than in the realm of youth employment. It was this that occupied my thoughts as I traveled to Davos, and it didn’t take long to discover that I wasn’t alone in my state of mind.

Heading to the conference in Switzerland as one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, I was excited to see this year’s event unfold first-hand.  It didn’t take long to see that my passion for helping today’s youth find fulfilling and exciting routes into employment was shared by many.

From talking to Bill Reece, CEO of the International Youth Foundation about his plans to develop cross-mentoring opportunities, to hearing Bill Gates talk with immense passion about the educational opportunities opened by Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), from listening to Peter Thiel rally against the student fees that cripple the youth of the US to discussing methods to boost entrepreneurship and start-ups with Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, it seemed that helping our youth was constantly on the agenda.

For my part, I was most excited about exploring how – in genuinely practical terms – we can halt the cycle of unemployment that faces so many young people, and discussed my own ideas alongside General Secretary of the International Trade Union Sharan Burrow, CEO of Publicis Maurice Levy and CEO of Springstar Jonathan Teklu.  Coming from a background of recruitment – I run a company called Enternships, which is dedicated to getting entrepreneurial graduates and students roles in innovative startups and SMEs – it’s vital to me that we find new ways of opening up methods of employment to young people in the UK.

Exploring these ideas with experts from all over the world, the theme of this ‘cycle of rejection’ came back again and again.

For me, the constant rejection – and not just rejection, but the lack of progression or growth that comes with each rejection – is the key thing keeping students and graduates from beginning their careers.

It’s interesting – for many, the criticism of Davos is that it is a week of talking about issues, rather than instigating real change. But change cannot come from blind action alone, just as it cannot come from empty words. Real, passionate discussion is the only road towards understanding what needs to be altered, and from there comes the beginnings of change. So, given my week, what change do I want to help make?

More than ever, I feel certain that if young people living in the UK today want to break free of the cycle of unemployment, businesses and recruiters have to do more to arm them with the tools they need to succeed.

It’s a change I’m calling ‘unrecruitment’ – the mission to ensure that everyone who applies for a position benefits from the process, whether they are offered a job or not.

Giving confidence, a growing skill-set and genuine empowerment to our young people is the only way we can give them the chance to succeed. Building and promoting courses and classes that candidates can do anywhere, without financial restraints, incorporating training and insight into the job application process itself, disseminating more knowledge and advice about starting up on your own, away from the ‘traditional’ career paths – this is the mission that I came to the World Economic Forum with. And now that this year’s event has come to a close, and I know so much more about those whose missions align with my own, I feel more confident than ever that we can achieve it.

Learn more about the #unrecruitment mission here.

(Photo Courtesy of Subject)

2 Responses

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