Unskilled youth, unemployment and the resulting poverty are topics high on the current national agenda and while government has called on the private sector to assist in combating this, first time job seekers are still faced with the conundrum of being told they need work experience to be more employable – something they cannot get without first becoming employed.

Although many businesses shy away from employing young job seekers they need to remember that the youth of today are the workforce of tomorrow!  For businesses to ensure the future success of their company and the longevity of our economy, we need to look at what actions we can take in order to ensure that they are ready for the task.  An understanding of this next generation will go a long way to making youth employment an investment for your business.

Things to consider:

  • Attitude determines ability. When hiring a young employee, place a candidate’s attitude over their skills. While skills are easily taught, attitudes are difficult to change.
  • Coach the talent. Have a good balance between mature and young staff, allowing experienced employees to mentor new recruits.
  • The formula for success. Despite perceptions that the youth today don’t want to be told what to do, clearly outlining expectations, ensuring that they understand the office culture and providing clear guidelines for how they can achieve success, both for a specific task and in the workplace in general, will help them thrive.
  • The thrill of the chase.  Many employers prefer not to invest in imparting skills into young employees as they are known to change jobs frequently and don’t end up benefitting from their investment. However, keep in mind that young employees are doing entry level jobs – work which is often not exciting or stimulating – which will cause them to seek new opportunities elsewhere. To retain your young talent, provide them with opportunities that challenge them, allowing them to learn and grow.  Although tedious work is part of every job description and necessary for the functioning of the organisation, balance it with work that employees find meaningful.  New recruits care about their career development and if they are not moving forward in their current organisation, they will seek it by moving companies.

According to the Adcorp Employment Index, the beginning of 2012 saw the first growth in employment within entry-level jobs since the 2009 recession. “By heeding the call to assist in combating youth unemployment and understanding how to gain the most from new recruits, investing in young talent can be beneficial to the future of organisations, the youth and the economy as a whole.  And perhaps by 2013, we can see even greater growth in employment for our future leaders.”

Adapted from http://www.hrfuture.net/news/young-talent-a-critical-investment-for-your-business.php?Itemid=812