A few days ago I took part in a Twitter chat, #YthEmpChat – it stands for Youth Employment Chat. It’s held every Tuesday between 8pm-9pm UK time. The topic was “the business case to employ young people”. I was the devil in there with my own theories, having worked with HR teams across companies. But it was actually a good chat.
The chat was hosted by Steven Champion, who, among many other things, is also an Ambassador for Youth Employment UK. He had 15 arguments in his business case to employ young people. When I had a read they all seemed valid and pretty clear.
In fact, you should try and use these arguments in a business case to recruit young people. Whether that is interns or graduates. Your ROI will be enough to then carry on the tradition year-on-year.
1. Lower recruitment costs, as employers engage with schools directly instead of conventional advertising;
Here Steven is specifically speaking of the pre-university scenario. Even with today’s technology and professional networks, a lot of businesses are spending way too much on recruitment. Cut that, visit schools and universities (for graduates). Attract them to apply to you. This way you even get to get your name out there in the talent acquisition market.
2. Cost-effectiveness (through lower wages);
I think that this is self-explanatory. Well, unless you pay young people an average of £29,000, as this report claims.
3. Greater flexibility in hours worked and geographically, as well as psychologically (in terms of adaptation to change);
4. Higher qualifications as young people tend to be better qualified than previous cohorts;
With so much emphasis on education and getting a degree, it is generally accepted that educational institutions are churning out more qualified graduates than before. The good thing is that these young people have learnt (maybe just theoretically) about the mistakes committed in the past, so they will automatically try to avoid those in your business.
5. A willingness to learn;
6. A shared organisational culture (instil organisational values and ‘shape’ employees to fit the company’s ways of working);
I personally always argue that businesses should hire early because they then get to mould the intern/graduate/young person to the needs and expectations of the business.
7. Insights and connections to the market that link to the customer base;
8. Enhanced loyalty and reduced staff turnover;
It’s like football: the young person always remembers the first business (or football club) to give them a break. There is definitely a sense of loyalty that comes with employing young people.
9. A competitive advantage obtained through attracting talent and preparing for the future;
10. Employers benefit from innovation and energy, with young people bringing new ideas and knowledge into the organisations;
11. Greater diversity of perspectives and experiences and a sense of optimism and greater aspirations;
12. An opportunity to prevent and address existing and future skills shortages;
13. Easier engagement with the local community; improved employer brand;
14. A way to develop companies’ existing staff in terms of management and coaching skills;
15. Ability to keep an organisation’s culture and skills base, which can be passed on from older employees to the young, so they don’t disappear with the retirement of the older workforce.
Steven has gleaned this information from a CIPD 2012 report which can be found here. You can even read a further report titled Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus: addressing the young people/jobs mismatch.