Social Mobility Gap Can Shrink If Britain’s Youth Are Given Grassroots Opportunities To Thrive in Tech
• New Samsung UK report reveals nearly half (47%) of young people believe they can innovate or contribute ideas to problem solving if they had the right support around them
• 50% of young people perceive the technology sector to be ‘competitive’, with 28% believing it’s only for people good at maths and science
• Nearly a quarter said a lack of smartphone data has held them back from accessing a job or education
London, UK – 14th September 2023 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has revealed research showing the extent to which young people in Britain are missing out on accessing jobs in the technology sector due to barriers to access educational opportunities, a lack of support networks and fewer role models – contributing to a widening gap between supply and demand among diverse young talent in the sector.
With 51,000 unfilled jobs in IT in the UK in 2023, and entry level tech jobs promising enticing salaries, the research presents a concerning picture about the impact social mobility is having on young people stepping into the technology industry – a sector that is currently valued at $1 trillion in the UK. And, at a time when the UK is betting big on the country becoming an international tech hub in areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), more needs to be done to level the playing field.
Over one third (35%) of young people said they have been held back from applying for a job due to a lack of Wi-Fi access, with almost a quarter (24%) saying a lack of data has been a barrier to accessing employment or educational opportunities. And as technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, and Virtual Reality gain momentum, access to the Internet will become more critical as young people learn the skills necessary to fulfil the requirements of future jobs.
The research study of 1,000 young people aged between 16 and 25 was commissioned by Samsung UK to mark the re-launch of its Solve for Tomorrow initiative for 2023/24 – a programme designed to spur young people to unleash their inner potential by coming up with ways technology can solve society’s issues in four key areas: Sustainability, Education, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Health & Wellbeing.
In addition to this exclusive study, a poll of 500 young people aged between 13 and 18 years was conducted by UK social enterprise Startup Sherpas, who provided direct access to the views of this younger age group.
Commenting on the research, James Kitto, Vice President and Head of MX Division, Samsung UK & Ireland said: “The next generation are going to be tomorrow’s problem-solvers; the thinkers that will come up with the ideas and innovations that will address some of the world’s biggest challenges. But to be successful in this mission, they will need to be armed with the skills, contacts, and knowledge to unleash their full problem-solving potential. I am passionate about helping young people succeed, and programmes like Solve for Tomorrow play their part in galvanising all of our young people, not just those who have opportunity, to feel empowered to shape the future they will come to own.”
This empowerment often starts at home, but this isn’t the case for all young people, especially those who have limited role models around them. One fifth (20%) of young people wouldn’t apply for a job if they knew nobody who worked in that career and dated perceptions about ‘traditional’ careers paying the best for entry level jobs are rife – screening out diverse talent from booming sectors like technology before they enter the job market.
The following jobs were ranked in order of perceived entry-level earning potential – with no technology-driven careers featuring in the top 5:
- Politician (52%)
- Accountant (50%)
- Lawyer (49%)
- Pharmacist (49%)
- Construction Worker (48%)
Freedom to innovate
When asked if they believed they could contribute to ideas that might make a technological difference to the world, nearly half (47%) said they believe they can innovate or contribute ideas if they had the right support; and 76% believe there is untapped potential in young people which would benefit the tech industry, showing despite the challenges, there is optimism amongst the nation’s youth.
Solve for Tomorrow launches in partnership with InnovateHer, a values-led social enterprise specialising in education and coaching, with a vision is to make the tech sector more equitable by increasing diversity across the spectrum and creating more inclusive workplaces.
Commenting on the partnership, Lauren Forbes, Head of Fundraising & Partnerships, InnovateHer said: “At InnovateHer, we are beyond excited to be partnering with Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow initiative as part of a commitment to nurture the futures of young girls in the UK, because we believe that investing in their futures is not just a social responsibility, but the key to unlocking a world of possibilities.
Our partnership aims to break down barriers, inspire confidence and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. The benefits are not just for these girls alone, but for society, as we empower them to become tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and changemakers, and we cannot wait to start the work.”
Solve for Tomorrow
The Award-winning competition empowers the next generation of visionaries through education supported by Samsung’s people, partners and technology to carve a new path in the tech world and drive positive change. It gives young people in the UK & Ireland the opportunity to gain skills and receive top-tier advice from leading industry experts, creating a roadmap for the future and a creative space to develop exciting new tech-for-good.
The programme invites 16-25-year-olds across the UK and Ireland to submit their ideas that address a problem within the area of Education, Sustainability, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, and Health & Wellbeing for the chance to take part in a series of workshops, receive invaluable mentorship from Samsung employees and industry experts, and win a coveted £10,000 top prize.
To launch this year’s Solve for Tomorrow initiative, Samsung held an event at Samsung KX, Coal Drop’s Yard on Thursday 14th September with Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education giving the keynote speech. TikTok sensation Stepz also took the stage for an exclusive performance followed by a panel discussion and workshops featuring insightful discussions from a range of exciting influencers.
They included autism and ADHD advocate Ellie Middleton, educational champion and YouTuber Vee Kativhu, and fashion and sustainability guru Andrea Cheong.
To find our more and enter the 2024 Solve for Tomorrow competition visit: www.samsung.com/uk/solvefortomorrow.
Research was commissioned by Samsung UK & Ireland and conducted via OnePoll and social enterprise Startup Sherpas. OnePoll surveyed 1,000 UK young people aged 16 to 25 in September 2023. Startup Sherpas polled 500 young people aged 13 – 16.
Quotation from Hugo Pickford-Wardle – Co-founder Startup Sherpas
“We’re delighted to be supporting Samsung in bringing their Solve for Tomorrow initiative to even more diverse groups across the country. Working with thousands of young people every year through our paid work experience opportunities, we see firsthand how hard it is for many of them to access new opportunities to grow, so it’s wonderful to be able to work with organisations like Samsung who share our beliefs and want to fuel the creation of a generation of innovators.”