Youth unemployment poses significant risks to our economy. Photo: Supplied
Youth unemployment poses significant risks to our economy. Photo: Supplied

Employers to be realistic when paying youth for entry level jobs

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jun 6, 2019

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CAPE TOWN – Employers will continue failing at recruiting and retaining younger employees if they do not align their expectations to those of prospective job seekers, says Managing Director at HR Company Solutions, Madelein Smit.  

“What we are finding is that employers are not being realistic about the salaries that they are offering entry-level candidates in 2019’s economic climate. Often employers will ask jobseekers to have a higher education qualification, their own transport and to live close by to their area of work while offering to pay them less than the industry average,” Smit says.

She says employers cannot use metrics from 10 years ago to justify salaries in 2019.

“Employers need to understand that millennials and Gen Z hold different notions of work than their parents. They are purpose driven and have access to an abundance of information, including the average remuneration packages for their industry.  As the adage goes, you get what you pay for and if you are looking for a millennial to stay with your organisation in the long term, you need to make it worth their while,” Smit explains.

A survey from Jobvite found that 30% of new employees quit in the first 90-days of being employed. Forty-three percent said their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected, 34% report that an incident or bad experience drove them away, and 32% didn’t like the company culture.

Smit says organisations which cannot top the industry average should look at retaining their young talents using non-payable benefits such as revised working hours, study leave, a company culture that is inclusive and opportunities within the business to further educate their employees.

Employers, Smit says, need to be open about their expectations as early on as the recruitment phase.

Here are a few things hiring managers need to be aware of according to Smit:

  • ·         Is the business culture conducive for employee longevity, or is the organisation merely a stepping stone for candidates to leap towards the organisation’s competitors?
  • ·         Are salary and role expectations in-line? Simply put, would you be prepared to work for the same salary if roles were reversed? 
  • ·         Take heed of what your prospective employee brings to the organisation. Young people offer valuable information about the next generation of customers and the tools to effectively reach those customers.
  • ·         Could you as an employer survive on the same salary that you are offering your new recruits?

“Although money shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether a candidate takes the job or not, in this current economic climate it is often the main reason. For employers, the task is often remunerating candidates with a fair wage. But for millennials and Gen Z, a job is more than a paycheque at the end of the month. It's about being valued for their input and feeling like they are making a difference. But if expectations are not managed from both parties and employers don’t see their employees worth, they will continue to lose their youngest assets to the competition,” Smit concludes.


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