The Risks of High Youth Unemployment

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How High Youth Unemployment Affects Organizations

In many regions of the country, there are high levels of youth unemployment. In 2012, the unemployment rate for youth between 15 and 24 was 14.3 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. In Ontario, the youth unemployment rate ranged between 16 and 17.1 per cent in 2013.

High youth unemployment affects the economy but it also affects organizations in a number of ways.

One issue is that it can make hiring new employees more difficult. If your organization is looking to hire someone for a particular role, high levels of unemployment could mean that you will be less likely to find someone with the work experience that you are looking for. Since younger people haven’t worked, they may lack the skills and competencies that many organizations need. If you cannot find qualified workers to hire, your organization will have difficulty growing, prospering and being competitive in the current business climate.

High levels of youth unemployment can also lead to organizations hiring employees who have less work experience than is typically needed and/or desired. When there is high youth unemployment, employees enter into the work world at an older age and with less experience since they didn’t gain necessary skills through student employment. This can cause a number of issues, including the need to spend more resources to train and mentor new employees before they can become productive members of the team.

However, there are ways that organizations can deal with these setbacks.

Hiring and Working with Inexperienced Employees

Rather than looking for employees that have a certain number of years of experience or ones that have successfully held certain roles at other organizations, consider what traits and skills you are looking for in an employee instead. Look for employees who have character traits that you consider desirable. Use your organizational values as a guide for hiring for the right ‘fit’. Employ methods other than looking at work experience to determine a potential employee’s work ethic and ability to handle the responsibilities of their role. For example, you can look to internships, volunteer work and other relevant experience to provide you with relevant background information.

The good news is that there are a number of advantages to hiring and working with inexperienced employees, including:

  • They often have fresh ideas, approaches and perspectives
  • They are less likely to have developed negatives habits that will be difficult to change
  • They have room for growth and can be developed in a way that benefits the organization
  • They can be utilized in a wide variety of roles since they are often less rigid in their abilities and experience

While hiring experienced employees is important for organizations, hiring unexperienced employees and working with them to develop them into productive members of your team can be quite beneficial. This is especially true in today’s world where high youth unemployment makes it much more difficult to find youth who have a lot of business experience.

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