How do you attract younger staff?

Giving youth its head

If you want to keep them, it’s important you make sure your younger members of staff feel valued and involved

We recently spoke to a client who expressed concern about the struggle they have in attracting and retaining younger employees. So what can they do to address this?

Younger employees are a valued part of most workforces, offering fresh perspectives to pre-existing working practices on account of their recently obtained qualifications. Firms who are experiencing difficulties attracting and retaining younger employees may wish to consider making the following alterations to their business.

As the structure of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) requirements enables staff to be paid different hourly rates depending on their age, companies who structure their payroll in this manner could be inadvertently discouraging younger individuals from applying for available roles. Instead, consider paying all staff the suggested Real Living Wage of £8.75 per hour to increase pay equality.

In order to attract younger staff it is important that you advertise jobs in the appropriate manner. Multiple platforms should be used when placing job adverts, to give them a greater chance of being viewed by a wide range of applicants. Additionally, pay particular focus to online platforms such as LinkedIn, or use recruitment agencies that specialise in graduate positions.

Younger individuals will often be drawn to organisations that make concerted efforts to invest in staff and help provide them with the skills needed to succeed. Therefore, you should consider introducing a specially tailored graduate scheme or training programme aimed at helping younger individuals progress in their organisation. Naturally, it is common for younger workers to lack the employment experience of their older counterparts, so providing them with a designated workplace ‘buddy’ during their first few months will help them settle into their role and increase retention rates.

It would appear that flexible working practices are favoured by younger employees, given their significant representation in gig-economy industries such as retail and hospitality. Although this may not be appropriate in all working environments, you could consider offering flexible working hours and part-time employment opportunities as a way of attracting younger employees who may wish to work reduced hours as a way of supporting themselves while working towards university qualifications.

It is vital that decisions surrounding promotions and bonuses are based on a combination of merit and ability as opposed to age. Companies who make the mistake of favouring older employees for roles and responsibilities purely because of their age will likely see younger employees become disheartened and seek alternative employment. As a result, they should ensure their organisation remains a meritocracy and that performance is rewarded appropriately, regardless of age.

By following these steps businesses will make their workplace a more attractive environment for all employees, but specifically those of a younger age. This will help set them apart from their competitors in what is an increasingly competitive UK job market.

  • Amanda Chadwick is an employment law and health & safety presenter at Peninsula Business Services

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