Home' HR Monthly : February 2015 Contents 26
FEATURE: YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
Prospects are particularly bleak for students who
haven't completed or are at risk of not completing
Year 12. The Youth Connections program that was
providing transition to employment and further
training to these particularly vulnerable 15-19-year-
olds has also had its federal funding cut. Instead,
the government has encouraged businesses to tackle
youth unemployment themselves.
While many small to medium-sized businesses
are retrenching, two of the big guns have teamed up
in a nationwide initiative. Woolworths and News
Corp launched Generation Success earlier this year
to create jobs and enable other employers and young
job seekers to find each other. Online resources for
employers also include advice on work experience,
establishing traineeships and apprenticeships, and
tips on making recruitment more youth friendly.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence report states that
the shift to a knowledge and service-based economy
has left many school leavers ill-equipped to secure
their first job. They lack the skills, work experience
and qualifications the modern economy requires.
Apart from the obvious social harm to individuals,
there are severe implications for an already under-
performing Australian economy. The question
now is, can Australian business afford not to take
responsibility for its young unemployed?
"OFTEN YOUNG PEOPLE DON'T
REALISE HOW BROAD THE
STOCKLAND PROPERTY GROUP NATIONAL
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MANAGER OF
SUSTAINABILITY, LAUREN CASSAR.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
What benefits do employers gain from hiring young
people? And what are the disadvantages, and how can
they be overcome?
The Work Foundation, at Lancaster University in the
United Kingdom, set out to answer these questions
with its study 'Beyond the business case: the employer's
role in tackling youth unemployment'.
The most positive reason for hiring young people
was that employers could mould a young workforce
to suit their needs. Employers also said having young
people on their staff was good for the company brand,
they appreciated their greater digital literacy, and they
recognised the benefits to their sector and geographical
area from giving young people employment.
Employers rated attitude and enthusiasm very
highly, sometimes above skills and qualifications.
In this respect, they'd had mixed experiences when
hiring young people; some breathed new life into an
organisation while others had poor attitudes.
The fact that young people tend to stay in jobs for
less time than older workers was found to be a factor
in discouraging employers from hiring them. However,
when employers invested in their young recruits by
offering substantial training, they found they could be
loyal and stay with a firm for a long time.
"These positive and mixed factors are set against
one major drawback -- that young people have less
experience, both of specific jobs and of work in
general," says the report.
But it also seems that many companies are hindering
young people's chances of getting a job. Informal
networks form a real barrier to them finding work.
"There is clear scope for employers to do more
to ensure that their recruitment practices are
The report says more needs to be done to improve
job prospects, such as providing young people
with the experience they need to compete for jobs.
Apprenticeships are part of the solution as they
allow young people to gain work experience while
Employers can also help young people prepare for
work while at school through work experience, career
days, mentoring and other activities.
By becoming an AHRI
student member, HR
students can connect
with more experienced
HR professionals plus
access all the resources
they need to secure their
first jobs in HR. Student
members can attend
network forums, explore
AHRI:ASSIST, listen to
free webinars on career
a student ambassador
program and apply
for work experience
programs with select AHRI
Like AHRI members,
they can take advantage
of news, research and
development rates to
make sure they have
the best chance to
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