Four strategies to help young people avoid the serious danger of early unemployment
If young people don’t get a suitable job reasonably soon after finishing their education, it may have serious effects on their future careers, health and even life expectancy.
To quote Ronald McQuaid, Professor of Work and Employment at Scotland’s University of Stirling, “Being unemployed when young leads to a higher likelihood of long-term ‘scarring’ in later life in terms of subsequent lower pay, higher unemployment and reduced life chances.”
Another major UK report states: “… for young people, long-term unemployment scars for life. It means lower earnings, more unemployment, more ill health later in life.” This report, entitled Youth Unemployment: the Crisis We Cannot Afford, resulted from the ACEVO Commission on Youth Unemployment chaired by former British parliamentarian and now President of the International Rescue Committee in New York, David Miliband.
It’s that serious: those who experience extended unemployment early in their lives have significantly less chance of leading a satisfying, healthy life. Here are four strategies to give the young people you know the best chance of ensuring that they do get good jobs.
1 From an early age, help them to think about their future careers. A report in The Conversation quoting a UK source stated that young people, including primary school students, who participated in career education increased their knowledge about the types of work and the pathways that could be followed to get there. The report also found some evidence that they became more confident about their ability to achieve their aspirations. Parents should be involved in this but it is important that they don’t try to shape the child’s career aspirations. The child must be the ‘owner’ of any career plan and must feel to be in control of it.
2 Encourage them to volunteer for whatever roles might come along, whether it be as classroom library monitor or helping at a local charity sausage sizzle. When they are old enough, assist them to seek part-time paid work after school. This will help them develop a good work ethic and the ‘soft’ skills that employers look for as well as building confidence in their ability to succeed in the workplace.
One of the main reasons employers give for not employing young people is lack of experience. Therefore, the more experience of work that children can have before finishing their education, the less likely they are to be rejected on this basis.
3 Once they have finished their education and are looking seriously for work, encourage them to think of themselves as self-employed, the CEO of Myself & Co, and to look for a job in the same way that a small business markets itself to customers. Small businesses don’t wait for customers to advertise that they need the business's services; successful small businesses are pro-active in reaching out to prospective customers and job seekers who are pro-active in reaching out to prospective employers are, according to research published by the University of Florida, almost six times more likely to be successful in the job search than are job seekers who are not pro-active. And by pro-active, I don’t mean busy-work, sending out applications to every possible position because that doesn’t achieve anything. A pro-active job seeker narrows the field to two carefully selected job leads, researches them both thoroughly, prepares a résumé that demonstrates how the applicant meets the specific needs of the position, makes contact with people in the organisation and goes and meets them.
4 Job seeking can be a lonely and dispiriting process. Yet, to be successful, the job seeker must demonstrate a positive, confident, can-do attitude. This is much easier if the job seeker’s ‘small business’ appoints a Board of Directors, people close to the job seeker who are prepared to offer encouragement and advice but to respect the job seeker as the Managing Director of the business. This is important; the job seeker must be the boss and feel in control at all times, to own the career plan and to want to achieve the employment objective.
Youth unemployment is at an unacceptably high level. It will take a united push by government, business, education and parents to make a significant reduction. Extended unemployment can have a seriously damaging effect on the future prospects of any young people you know. To maximise the likelihood of their avoiding early unemployment, implement these strategies.
http://cesi.org.uk/sites/default/files/event_downloads/ACEVO_report.pdf. This report, entitled Youth Unemployment: the Crisis We Cannot Afford, resulted from the ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) Commission on Youth Unemployment chaired by former British parliamentarian and now President of the International Rescue Committee in New York, David Miliband.