Dean Sadler: Covid-19 and youth unemployment – what can businesses do to better support them?

Dean Sadler, CEO at Tribepad, considers how employers can best support younger employees in a new and unstable work climate

While the furlough scheme has been a lifeline for many, the introduction of a second national lockdown has been a low blow for young people – especially as the job market seemed to be picking back up again just weeks ago.

The detrimental impact Covid-19 has had on young people has been severe. With fewer graduate schemes and limited entry level roles on the job market, there is a much smaller window of opportunity for young people looking to kick start their career.

Many businesses and HR teams have already strategically adapted their recruitment processes to abide government restrictions – bringing in online interviews for example.Yet we are seeing many businesses choosing and hiring candidates who already have the skills and experience required – primarily because they simply don’t have the time and money to train up new employees. 

While the launch of the chancellors £2bn Kickstart jobs scheme in July aimed to boost youth employment, young people are still in the danger zone of being made unemployed post-furlough in the coming months. It’s now in the hands of businesses to provide essential support to hungry young candidates looking to start their career. 

 

The youth unemployment decline

The rate of unemployment has hit its highest level in three years in the UK, and has led to an overcrowded job market – especially for young people. It is now even harder to stand out, particularly against skilled and experienced workers who have been let go from roles, that in many cases they have held for years. 

To add to this perfect storm, the job market is shrinking across sectors. The hospitality, retail and entertainment industries have been hit the hardest by Covid-19, where many young people start their careers. And it’s looking likely that roles in these sectors will not be coming back any time soon.

What’s more, businesses have reduced the amount of graduate schemes. Funds are being invested into retaining current employees, rather than on training aspiring young individuals. For students, graduate schemes are a gateway to job opportunities. But without this security, many are left with an uncertain future.

 

What can businesses do to help? 

With little experience in the workplace, it’s a scary time for young people beginning their career. Specialist recruiting tools such as video interviewing, or live chat bots mean hiring managers or recruiters can interview candidates faster and more consistently. For young people, who are digital natives, this type of technology is second nature, so they will be able to approach interviews at ease, using tech they’re skilled in. 

Onboarding software should also be used to help get new employees get ready for their first day. Starting a new job is nerve-wracking, but especially so if you’re at the start of your career. By using onboarding software, businesses are able to help them transition smoothly into their new role. 

To cut time spent on recruitment and find the best candidates quickly, businesses should also harness applicant tracking systems. As hiring managers face a huge surge of applications – a lot being from young people – they need to be efficient at narrowing down the most appropriate candidate. By taking too much time, young workers may be missing out on other opportunities that are much more suited to them. 

Finally, online support should always be available from businesses to help young people navigate through the recruiting process. For many, this is new ground, so blogs, vlogs or even open webinars that explain how to use this specialist software, will allow candidates to best prepare themselves. It’s vital to explain clearly what’s expected from them and how to best apply. 

 

Our future workforce

The government’s kickstart job scheme is a start, but as the UK now enters its second national lockdown more needs to be done. Businesses need to take action. By utilising support from the government and technology, businesses will be able to get far more young people into the workplace.

It’s important that businesses are accepting of the range of talent out there. Yes, there are skilled, experienced workers out there looking for work. But young people fuel our future workforce and we need to give them a chance to begin their journey. They bring many qualities and skills that companies desperately need in a post-Covid world. 

 


About the author

Dean Sadler is the CEO and founder at specialist recruitment software provider Tribepad. Prior to Tribepad, after travelling the globe and working as a bus driver, Dean started a PhD in computing before joining a startup called Plusnet. He wrote the billing and CRM platform, became CIO and helped grow the business from a handful of employees to over 700, through IPO then exiting via a sale to BT. Pondering life after Plusnet, Dean was looking for a real world problem which could be addressed by artificial intelligence and hit on the recruitment industry as being ripe for disruption. And so Tribepad was born.

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