This concern, however, is not isolated to South Africa. The CIPD, the UK’s professional body for HR and people development, has previously warned employers that they need to become more involved in developing young people if they are to contribute to reversing the youth unemployment trend. According to their research, the majority of employers (71%) believe they can play a role in reducing youth unemployment. However, a quarter of employers have not hired anyone aged 16-24 over the past few years – regardless of whether they have a college degree or not – and only about 56% plan to do so in the coming years.
“Employing youth has clear benefits to business and society, but there is some work to be done in encouraging and supporting more employers to take on and develop young people,” said CIPD CEO, Peter Chase.
Aside from business sustainability, hiring young people is crucial for the sustainability of our society.
Today’s workforce boasts the largest number of people from different generations working together in history, resulting in thriving and diverse work environments. Gen Z (born from 1996 onwards) are the most recent entrants on the scene, but negative stereotypes often deter employers from investing in these progressive and entrepreneurial individuals. However, it is estimated that the number of Gen Z employees will triple by 2030, which means that enticing them is critical to the survival of your organisation. The millennial and Gen Z generations have a strong desire to make a difference in the world, which is why it is so vital to harness their energy.
As young people grow older, they acquire new skills and abilities that enable them to be more flexible and open to learning new things; to be more inventive, energetic, and optimistic. But to accomplish this, we must believe in them and provide them with opportunities to flourish and grow.
Hiring and investing in young people contributes to a more experienced and skilled workforce that continues to grow in value over time. This helps to avoid future shortages of experienced and skilled employees.
However, to truly harness these benefits and secure the loyalty of the next generation of workers, you must be intentional about creating an environment in which they can thrive. They are especially eager to contribute to the development of an engaging organisational culture, and we must take advantage of this opportunity.
In conclusion, today's youth will be the labour force of the future and money earners of tomorrow, and it is our responsibility as leaders to contribute towards the long-term sustainability of our businesses and the societies in which we operate. Talent and workforce planning are critical components of this, which appears to be overlooked by many leaders from the earlier generation.