Thursday April 10, 2014
Youth unemployment still features heavily in the national news debate. No surprise when the most recent report from the House of Commons on the subject stated there were ‘628,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds in November 2013 to January 2014 of which 246,000 had been unemployed for over 12 months’. Despite the high number of unemployed, businesses in the service industries continue to experience challenges when attempting to attract and retain this age group, so what is the missing link?
Online booking site, Bookatable, found that nearly half of young people in the UK would not consider a career in service, despite the sector being one of the few offering opportunities at all qualification levels. Why? Two in five young people felt the work would be boring and repetitive, nearly a third said the industry wasn’t forward-looking, a fifth didn’t feel able to use their technology and social media skills and 33% said their skills would be better suited to an office environment ‘with modern technology’.
With the number of young people entering the service industry decreasing by 60,000 every year (People 1st), and more growth expected over the next two years, it’s time that businesses step it up a gear in order to engage emerging talent and really take control of their future talent pipeline.
We only have to look to the technology and engineering sectors to see how they tackle similar challenges. Here organisations such as IBM and Bosch are using a combination of school learning initiatives, where individuals from a very young age can learn about the sector, what type of roles are available and the qualifications required, and apprenticeships to access a wider talent pool. Both approaches strengthen employer engagement with young people whilst helping create a continual development of future leaders which minimises the gaps in management skills to improve their workforce.
And for the young people involved; they have access to great development and challenging roles which put them in good stead for their future careers…
With service industries being an incredible place for young people to start and grow their careers, businesses in these sectors must shout about the opportunities beyond the traditional roles of restaurant or hotel management and culinary positions and make more of the jobs available in technology, HR and marketing. Here are our top tips to help you do this in your business:
1. Employer brand – to attract the right talent your organisation needs to be a people magnet – people must want to work for you. Do you know what people think of you as an employer? Google it and see, if you find nothing or negativity then you have work to do – so ask your people what you should be doing to be a great place to work and make a number of improvements. Next you need to make this available to job hunters so review your careers site - does it outline clearly what the people benefits are and the opportunities that are available and communicate in a way that speaks to the generations soon to be entering the workforce?
2. Apprenticeships - one of the reasons people don’t go to University is because they want to get stuck in to working life and gain first-hand experience in a role. Apprenticeships provide high-quality education, learning and development simultaneously and are therefore appealing to the fast-paced younger generation. For an employer they involve short term costs and long term benefits, adding enthusiastic, energetic and highly skilled people who are loyal to your organisation - one in five employers have former apprentices working in board level positions. Lexington Catering have seen great returns since the launch of their apprenticeship scheme – Lex School of Talent – set up to support the development of a strong chef talent pipeline.
3. Get out there – communication is the key to this; explaining to future talent the vast array of opportunities and possibilities available within your business and/or sector.be that through social media and the internet, or face-to-face Peter Avis, Restaurant Manager at Babylon spends significant proportion of his time visiting his old school and engages them in the opportunities hospitality and restaurants present. No-one has asked him to do it, Peter merely recognises the importance of getting out there and telling stories about working in the sector. As a result many of those he speaks to ask to visit London and conduct their work experience within Babylon, and when the time is right, some then apply to join the business providing Peter with a ready-made and engaged pipeline.
If you’d like to know more about how to get your employer brand right, drop firstname.lastname@example.org an email now…