When it comes to future-proofing your business, young recruits can bring fresh eyes, fresh thinking, and an enthusiasm to learn.
Depending on the type of business you own, bringing younger employees in can also give you the opportunity to advance the technology you use with a tech-savvy generation.
Let’s look at how you can start setting your business up for future success by recruiting a new generation of workers.
What are the challenges of future-proofing a business with skilled young workers?
Although bringing skilled young workers into your business can guarantee your success in the future, there are a number of challenges you may have to deal with in the short-term, such as:
- Young workers lacking the experience and technical skills that your business requires (this is especially true in engineering)
- Older loyal employees retiring without their knowledge being passed on to the next generation
- Finding the right staff who work in the way you want them to
- High costs associated with bringing in qualified and experienced people
- A lack of skilled and experienced people in the market
Across the UK, people are exiting the labour market at a later stage of their lives. In 2022, the average age for men leaving their roles was 65.4 and for women, it was 64.3 – both of which are up by 0.3 years since 2021.
These older members of your workforce may have years of experience that you’ll lose when they reach retirement age – perhaps, even earlier if they leave through illness instead. Ensuring this knowledge can be passed on to your younger, less experienced team members is vital in preserving crucial information that older colleagues have picked up throughout their careers.
While the banking and finance sectors have the highest numbers of 50-64-year-olds working for them, the agriculture, fishing, and forestry sector have the lowest. Younger recruits joining the latter sectors could struggle without an older mentor to guide them and pass on the history of the business.
What sectors are young people working in?
During the pandemic, there was a big shift in the industries that young people worked in. Sectors such as accommodation and food service activities, the arts, and manufacturing saw a decline in the number of young people working for them, according to the Office of National Statistics.
On the other hand, public administration, social work, and the professional scientific and technical activities industries saw a surge of young people joining them, presumably to move into more stable jobs at a turbulent time.
How can employers develop their recruitment strategies to target fresh talent?
Although some jobs may require a degree, over half of university-educated young adults would have considered an apprenticeship as an alternative route to employment, if it had been available in their subject of choice.
If employers are able to offer an apprenticeship to a potential employee, it could help:
- Bring down the cost of recruitment as a training provider can assist you with finding the right candidate for the role
- Lower the cost of employment while your apprentices are learning
- Offer a larger pool of diverse applicants from school leavers to university students who have decided to change direction
- Give new recruits the opportunity to learn from existing staff, capturing their knowledge and experience
- New starters learn how to do things ‘your way’
- Give opportunities to teach specific skills for the exact environment they’ll be working in
- Give apprentices the chance to progress through higher-level apprenticeships over time
What practical ways can employers upskill existing staff and new recruits?
No matter how long an employee has been with your company, there are plenty of courses and qualifications they can take to progress in their role.
A fully-funded apprenticeship could see them learn on the job, picking up new skills quickly and applying what they’ve learned straight away. You can also tailor the qualification to suit your business needs and the specific role of your learner within your company.
By selecting and combining units that match your workplace as closely as possible, existing staff and new recruits can learn new skills while working in line with the processes you already have in place.
Eight top tips to help future-proof your business
Future-proofing your business takes careful planning and a well-thought-out strategy. Here are our top tips for making sure you set your company up for success:
- Focus on the long-term as well as the short-term. Stay one step ahead of the competition by constantly researching the needs and wants of your customers to predict what they might be looking for next.
- Share stories about your business that clearly show your values. This could be regular blogs or social media posts about your existing employees that make potential new recruits take notice.
- Create a wonderful culture that people want to be a part of. Make sure your actions match your words and your team is happy with the efforts you’re putting in to bring everyone together.
- Encourage your staff with lifelong learning. In a 2019 survey, 94% of employees said they’d stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning, showing the importance of professional development to team members.
- Engage with local schools and colleges to talk to potential candidates about opportunities at your company. You could also attend career fairs and other events to let others know about openings at your business.
- Work with a training provider who can help you recruit new people by working with you on job descriptions for apprenticeship positions and posting opportunities on the right channels to attract the best candidates.
- Review your diversity and inclusion policy and what you’re doing to attract a broad range of employees. This should be something you look at across all levels of the business, and all types of positions.
- Look at your sustainability initiatives and if you’re doing enough to go green. Think about the green jobs your company is likely to need in the future and consider what you’ll need to do to find suitable candidates or train existing employees.
- Pay attention to any other jobs you might need to recruit for in the future, such as satellite engineers or next-generation cyber security experts. Laying the groundwork for the future can ensure your company is a success.