Skip to main content

Collaborative thinking addresses the Attitude Gap in South Auckland

The Attitude Gap Challenge, a multi-agency co-design challenge led by the Auckland Co-design Lab, and sponsored by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was released today.

The Attitude Gap Challenge centres on understanding the differences between young people’s and employers’ expectations of work readiness, and the impact of these differences on youth under-employment in South Auckland. The report found that this ‘gap’ is more than just attitude, but a complex clash of norms and expectations, as well as ethnic and generational differences that occur throughout the employment journey.

The report highlights the important role of employers, service providers, young people and their whānau working together to improve employment outcomes for young people wanting to enter the workforce. The project brought together a wide range of employers, young people and other agencies to address the identified challenge.

While issues around youth under-employment are complex, the report shows small changes that employers can make to better engage with young people – such as communicating by text message, assigning mentors and having group interview sessions.

Some of the key insights from the Attitude Gap report were:

  • Employment expectations and ambitions of young people are built through the experiences they have early on, so having positive connections with employers is really important for building ambition and networks for young people.
  • The process of applying for jobs can be demotivating for young people who do not understand what employers are looking for. Employers get frustrated that young people present poorly and the recruitment process is costly for them.
  • Young people often struggle with the unfamiliar processes of the world of work, which frustrates employers who see workplace culture as the norm.
  • Differences in expectations and how these are communicated can impede success once in the workplace. Young people do not understand progression opportunities which can demotivate them, while employers are waiting to see motivation before they discuss progression and development.
  • Young people, especially in South Auckland, often need support to balance their home and community responsibilities.
  • Employers and young people recognise they need to change but feel they lack the information and support to do so. 

The Attitude Gap highlights the opportunity to develop best practice standards for hiring, promoting and retaining young people. The report contains a number of infographics and resources which can be used to engage young people looking for work, businesses and recruiters alike. Government agencies intend to use the insights from the Attitude Gap to support current and future work.

Read the report on the Auckland Co-design Lab website (external link)