Media Stereotyping Hurting Teenage Job Prospects: More than two in three young people aged between 14 and 17 believe that their job prospects are being negatively affected by the way they are portrayed in the media, and around four in five said that they felt they were more engaged with social issues than previous generations. The research, conducted on behalf of the think tank Demos, took in to account the views of more than 1000 14-17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland.
The think tank felt that the findings ‘shattered misconceptions’ about disengaged teenagers, and claimed that false stereotyping on young people in the media and in society on a wider scale was having an impact on their self-esteem and employment opportunities.
As part of the research, Demos also stated that it had analysed six UK newspaper from the last decade and the words most often associated with ‘teenagers’, ‘youth’ and ‘young people’ were ‘binge-drinking’, ‘yobs’ and ‘crime’.
However, Demos also noted that the survey considered opinions of and perceptions towards teenagers, and did not measure the attitude of employers. A separate survey, carried out last month by the management consultancy firm McKinsey, suggested that many employers were actually leaving entry level jobs unfilled due to skills gaps among young people – it claimed that 27% said they could not find people with the necessary skills and had been forced to leave places unfilled.
In addition, a recent opinion piece by Chris Jones, the Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, suggested that most employers felt that young people did not understand what business wanted from them.
Other findings from the Demos survey showed that 87% of teenagers believed that social media is effective in driving social change, 38% have signed an online petition, 29% had used Facebook or Twitter to raise awareness of a cause and 19% have donated money online – demonstrating that they are more socially engaged than previous generations. However, the research also suggested that this engagement did not translate in to the political sphere – only one in ten teens saw politicians as agents of positive change.
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