Why hire a young person?

 20 August 2013

Should you hire a young person? Alexa Garthwaite from Executive Offices Group explores the benefits and perceived drawbacks of recruiting people who are new to the workplace.

Young people often have an abundance of energy and a natural thirst for knowledge, which can rub off on colleagues.
Young people often have an abundance of energy and a natural thirst for knowledge, which can rub off on colleagues.

The job market is flooded with qualified and eager young people who churn out dozens of covering letters a day. If it’s your job to fill entry-level roles – from graduate positions to apprenticeships and paid internships – it can be overwhelming.

They will be enthusiastic about their first ‘real’ job, with a strong eagerness to learn.

Many companies welcome young employees with open arms. Others tend to avoid them, opting for more mature and experienced individuals.

However, it’s important to remember that young people could be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.

Here are some factors to consider when thinking about taking on a young person, which can help you to make an informed hiring decision.

Benefits of hiring a young person

Young people are full of energy

There are several advantages to hiring a young person. They often have an abundance of energy and a natural thirst for knowledge, which can rub off on colleagues and help invigorate the workplace.

You can be sure that they will be enthusiastic about their first ‘real’ job, with a strong eagerness to learn and develop their career.

Young people tend to push themselves, wanting to make a lasting impression and prove what they can do. Their sheer determination to complete their work can inspire colleagues around them.

Young people can develop your workforce

Young people can offer a cost-effective way to grow a workforce. If you put time and thought into who you recruit, this can result in a very positive return on investment.

Hiring a young person can give you influence in the kind of employee they become.

As well as financial benefits, introducing a young person to a team gives staff the opportunity to develop their own skills, such as in training and management.

They can bring in fresh perspectives, providing new ideas and solutions, and increase friendly competition within a team due to their enthusiasm. 

Hiring a young person can also give you the opportunity to have greater influence in the kind of employee they become. You can work with them to encourage common values and good practices from the outset.

Young people bring enthusiasm

Although they lack experience, new young person are generally easier to train, due to being driven and eager to excel.

A survey carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) shows that the top reasons for employers seeking young people are:

  • ability to be moulded (32 per cent of employers)
  • enthusiasm (30 per cent of employers)
  • willingness to learn (20per cent of employers).

In the right environment and with the right guidance and supervision, young people can excel within a company and surprise even the most apprehensive of employers.

Perceptions of hiring a young person

Young people lack experience

Despite the above, there are some perceived drawbacks of taking on a young person. The obvious one is a lack of overall experience, not just in the field they are applying for, but in a working environment.

Some do opt for work placements, and these are usually very desirable among employers, but many have done little more than summer jobs.

This means more resources must be spent on supervision and training up the individual to a suitable level.

Working life can be a shock to young person who may be fresh out of education and still in the mindframe of being spoon-fed tasks and information.

Patience is key in this situation – everyone has to start somewhere and it’s important to view it as a long-term investment.

Young people may not stick around

People in their first job tend to have a desire for exploration, wanting to try their hand at several things before they settle on a career path that appeals to them.

While this is nothing to hold against them, it can be disheartening when a young person leaves before the end of a contract or probation period.

What can your business offer a new recruit?

Today’s young people are more open-minded regarding the type of role they are looking for, especially when it comes to smaller firms that may not be able to offer the best salaries.

Young people are easier to train due to being driven and eager to excel.

If you are a small business or start-up, there is a real opportunity to hire talented individuals who are interested in adding value to your company due to the increased responsibility available to them.

In order to entice qualified candidates, be sure to emphasise the benefits of working for a small company, such as the increased influence, direct access to senior employees and being a highly valued member.

This article was provided by Alexa Garthwaite, Business Development Manager at Executive Offices Group.

How do you think young people can benefit organisations?