How L&D professionals can help bring down youth unemployment

by John Hilton24 Feb 2016
Believe it or not, the youth unemployment rate of 12.1% is more than double that of the national unemployment rate (5.8%). This equates to over a quarter of a million young Australians who don’t have a job.
The problem is that young people cannot get a job because they don’t have the experience, but they can’t get experience because they can’t get a job, said Randstad’s Director of Social and Public Affairs, Steve Shepherd.
He added that there seems to be a perception that young people require a more costly investment in terms of the development of their skills.
“Young people entering the workforce potentially straight out of the education system can be a longer term investment for the employer,” Shepherd told L&D Professional.
“The easier option is often to hire somebody who already has those skills and experience.
“So what you tend to see is a short-term priority, instead a long-term investment in the talent and future of the business.”
Shepherd explained that we have an ageing population in Australia and that in the next 10 years we could see almost 20% of the workforce retire.
Moreover, he said the Australian Government’s Intergenerational Report shows that while our population is growing the workforce is shrinking. Therefore, organisations should be investing in developing the skills of the future.
“We certainly see that in terms of our Randstad employer brand research L&D is a key motivator for young people,” Shepherd told L&D professional.
“Organisations who are investing in their young workers are certainly seeing improvements in employee engagement through that.”
L&D professionals can help address the skills shortage and youth unemployment by engaging in conversations with business leaders and working with the rest of HR, said Shepherd.
In particular, to help business leaders identify that what they are looking for in the market may not exist or actually may not be the best solution for the long-term future of the business.
“We see companies everyday talking about the skills of the future being innovation, creativity and problem-solving, yet they continue to recruit for the skills of the past,” he said.
“This is when the most innovative and creative generation that Australia has ever known struggles to get a job straight out of school, and yet their whole education system has been designed around collaboration, innovation, creativity, etc.
“So I think the L&D community like everybody needs to be engaging in that debate and challenging the traditional thinking of business around hiring for traditional skills.”
Randstad are currently running a competition to demonstrate the skills and talents of young Australians. It involves the submission of a short video on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ or Facebook using hashtag #ShapingYoungFutures, or via the Randstad Shaping Young Futures website.
The prize for the best entry includes a round-the-world trip, featuring international business meetings with youth ambassadors and senior business leaders, a day with the F1 Williams Martini Racing Team at their Headquarters in Oxfordshire, England; a mentoring session with a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, as well as spending money, career advice and training in key skills.
Additionally, the top five finalists, including a “People’s Choice” winner, will receive a one month paid internship with either L’Oréal Australia, Marketo, NAB, SEEK or Virgin Australia.
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