Back to school: The benefits of hiring young talent
Recruitment is often regarded as one of the biggest challenges facing any business, regardless of its size.
From attracting the right candidates to retaining ambitious employees, there are a number of challenges to overcome and it’s not always obvious where to look for the right talent.
Amid all the recent debate surrounding university tuition fees and zero hour contracts, it has at least highlighted the keenness of the younger generation to keep learning and find their first step of the career ladder. But is hiring young talent a viable proposition for your business?
Here, we explore nine reasons your business could benefit from recruiting and training straight out of local schools and universities – as well as some of the drawbacks.
Work experience and internships
With students increasingly on the look out for professional experience to secure their first step on the career ladder, internships, work experience and voluntary posts can often open the door to a good pool of ambitious candidates to choose from if you market your opportunities effectively.
Influencing the quality of future employees
In addition to giving you the chance to meet and informally assess students who could become future recruits, work experience programmes can help employers to improve the quality, skills and preparedness of new entrants to the industry. It also affords young people the chance to see if the market is for them without committing to that career path.
Development of recruitment channels
Building links with local schools and universities through work experience programmes raises the profile of your career opportunities and can help to attract school leavers and graduates into jobs. This can help to reduce recruitment costs in the future.
Management development opportunities
Offering work experience can be a good way of developing the management skills of your existing staff. The process of policy development, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of work experience programmes gives current employees the chance to manage, coach and train the students on placement.
Work experience and internships vary but, in some cases, your business may need to provide the students on placement with national minimum wage, national living wage or expenses. To see which workers are entitled to any of these, take look at these guidelines.
There is a lot of paperwork to be completed for a new-starter who is likely to only be with the company for a short period of time. However, this can be eased by offering longer placements to students during their summer holidays.
To maximise the benefits for both the employer and the employee, a lot of planning, monitoring and assessment is required. With work experience students especially, it is often their first experience of real work so they may need a lot of training and guidance which will take time and resource away from your core business activity.
Every summer thousands of students leave university eager to take their first step on the career ladder. While many will look for work placements or internships to further develop their skills and experience, the majority will hope to secure a paid role where they can begin their career.
Bank of solid skills
Graduates often come equipped with a larger skill-set than their non-graduate equals which can be applied to further your business. University teaches you more than just a subject; it helps with written and oral communication, problem-solving, presentations, organisation, data analysis and technology skills.
Graduates often earn lower salaries than experienced candidates so they can be a cheaper resource for your business.
Graduates are often less likely to have the family commitments of experienced workers and are therefore more open to relocation, unsociable hours and longer working days.
Fresh out of university, graduates may not have as much experience as other candidates that could fill the position. This means that they may require more training.
Keen to progress
Once they have built up a bank of experience at your company a graduate may look to further their career at a rival company where they may get a larger salary, more benefits or a better path to progression. If you cannot compete you could lose an employee you’ve invested heavily in – and face the additional costs of finding and training their replacement.
Apprenticeships deliver work for young people and adults, enabling them to earn while they learn. In 2015-16, 904,800 people were on an apprenticeship in the UK.
Grow your own talent
Apprentices will work towards a National/Scottish Vocational Qualification (N/SVQ) whilst they are working with your business. While you teach the apprentice the practical skills they need, the apprentice will bring back the most up-to-date methods and information from their training course that you can apply to your business to give it a competitive edge.
Apprenticeships enable your business to train people in the skills you need, while paying them a salary that reflects their level of experience. Your business may also be eligible for an apprenticeship grant. For more information on the potential costs and to see if you are eligible for a grant, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
Ready to mould
Unlike experienced hires, apprentices are often less set in their ways and can be shaped to work in a way that reflects the needs of your business. With less experience in a workplace they don’t have set work patterns and can be moulded to work around yours.
Long-term financial obligation
When you enter into an apprenticeship agreement, you agree to teach the apprentice your trade over a set period of time. Although the length varies depending on industry, age and experience, you will be tied into paying their salary for this period whether or not you’re able to give them enough work to cover their costs.
Taking on an apprentice involves a lot of admin. As well as completing the standard paperwork associated with hiring a new employee, you must also arrange training, carry out assessments and potentially apply for funding. Also, the time required to train an apprentice can slow down productivity and take away time and resource from your core business activity.
Once your apprentice has finished their training a competitor may approach them and offer them a larger salary and/or more benefits, so be sure you can offer a progressive career path within the company to encourage them to remain loyal.
Does your business take on graduates, apprentices or interns? What impact has this had on your business? Please share your experiences in the comments below.