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Unskilled youth, unemployment and the resulting poverty are topics high on the national agenda.
And while the government has called on the private sector to help in combating this, first-time jobseekers 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.
“Many businesses shy away from employing young jobseekers due to the perceived challenges they present,” says Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions.
“But businesses need to remember that the youth of today are the workforce of tomorrow and to ensure the future success of their company and the longevity of our economy, we need to look at what actions we can take to ensure that they are ready for the task.
“Far from being an unprofitable obligation, a simple understanding of this next generation will go a long way to making youth employment an investment for your business.”
She explains how:
Attitude determines ability – When hiring a young employee, place a candidate’s attitude over their skills. Skills are easily taught, but attitudes are difficult to change. Yet this is what determines how they will apply themselves and their knowledge to the task.
Coach the talent – Have a good balance between mature and young staff, allowing experienced employees to mentor new recruits. A mentoring programme will help to develop the young employees’ abilities, and close, personal contact encourages company loyalty.
The formula for success – Despite perceptions that young people 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 will help them thrive.
The thrill of the chase – Many employers prefer not to invest in young employees as they are known to change jobs frequently and the company doesn’t end up benefiting from their investment.
However, keep in mind that young employees are doing entry-level jobs – work that is often not exciting or stimulating – which will cause them to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
Provide them with opportunities that challenge them, allowing them to learn and grow. Balance tedious work 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.
Quest offers learnership programmes whereby candidates can gain a national qualification while working and earning. This empowers them with skills to increase their career success, while employers benefit from highly skilled and motivated employees.
A life-inclusive working environment – Although it may seem that the younger workforce would like more for doing less, it must be understood that the younger generation believes that there is more to life than work.
Companies that are empathetic towards circumstances outside of the workplace, have employee wellness programmes and flexible schedules have increased goodwill from their staff.
According to the Adcorp Employment Index, the beginning of this year 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.”