Is the media hurting job prospects for teenagers?
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Survey Shows Teenagers Feel Misrepresented By The Media
In a survey of teenagers between 14-17 years of age, more than two-thirds believed that negative media portrayal is affecting their job prospects. Of the teenagers questioned in the survey, approximately 80% also believed that they were more engaged 'with social issues than their predecessors'.
More than 1,000 14-17-year-olds from England and Northern Ireland took part in the survey commissioned by the think tank, Demos, an independent research institute. In the survey findings, misconceptions of 'disengaged teenagers' were shattered, highlighting that false stereotyping of young people in the media was having a negative effect on their self-esteem and employment opportunities.
The Demos survey which tested the 'attitudes and perceptions' of teenagers, found that four out of five teens felt they were unfairly represented by the media. Of these, 85% said that this was affecting their chances of getting a job.
Putting the media into the spotlight, the Demos survey also analysed six of the UK's newspapers from over the past 10 years. In these, it was found that the words most commonly associated with 'teenagers', 'youth' and 'young people' were 'binge drinking', 'yobs' and 'crime'.
"At the moment, teenagers feel like they're in the minority really. They are always the ones to get bad press […] We need to show businesses and the media that young people are passionate and want to get involved and make a change,” said Becky Brunskill, 18, Member of the Youth Parliament for Liverpool.
McKinsey management consultants, an independent consultancy firm, blamed high levels of youth unemployment on a skills shortage rather than a lack of jobs. It has been said that 27% of employers have left 'entry-level' jobs unfilled as they could not find candidates with the necessary skills. Responding to this, the author of the Demos report, Jonathon Birdwell said “Those are absolutely valid points and important factors to consider” continuing to say, “there is this perception that they [teenagers] are negatively portrayed. Those messages have an impact on how they perceive their job opportunities."
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