In the last quarter of 2012 Smart Waikato’s Youth Employment Survey was conducted to gauge the work experience and employment situation for 15 to 24 year olds.
About 280 Waikato employers representing approximately 12,000 Waikato employees responded to the online survey.
Overall there is a considerable lack of engagement from Waikato employers in terms of linking youth into their workplace. There are various reasons cited for this including businesses not having enough work, the relatively high expense of employing young people compared with experienced people, the poor work ethic and attitude of some youth, and difficulty in accessing youth of a high calibre.
However, there were a significant number of respondents who would consider offering more work experience opportunities, internships, apprenticeships, cadetships and jobs to youth if barriers were removed.
More than half of the respondents to the recently-released survey offer no work experience to young Waikato based students or jobseekers and 42 percent employ no 15 to 24 year-olds. 82 percent of employers did not offer internship opportunities.
It is time for employers to form better relationships with tertiary providers and secondary schools, providing better career pathways for young people. Smart Waikato’s BEST Youth initiative aims to assist in this process.
Referrals top tool for employing the young
It’s a case of not what you know but who you know for young Waikato job seekers, according to results of a new survey of employers.
The Smart Waikato’s Youth Employment Survey showed most bosses surveyed use referrals as their number one tool for hiring young people.
The survey of 280 bosses with about 12,000 staff showed 54.8 per cent of respondents used referrals as their favourite recruitment channel, followed by the internet at 40.5 per cent.
Qualifications are low on the priority list for bosses looking for young talent, with about 80 per cent of respondents listing a positive attitude, willingness to learn and good work ethic as their preferred attributes. Communication skills, problem solving ability and drivers’ licence are their next on the list with qualifications significantly lower at 16.5 per cent.
When asked for general comments about youth and employment more than half of 100 responses from bosses were negative.
“They have no interest in working and a lack of aptitude or ethics and expect top money for little or no return,” one employer said.
Another said: “While there are some stars still out there, there are a lot of bad seeds. Too many young staff expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter and the art of working for something has long been forgotten.”
About 20 per cent of the survey respondents made constructive comments about young prospects:
“We employ youth to find tomorrow’s key staff,” one said.
“Youth unemployment is a global issue that every adult New Zealander should play a full part in reducing,” was another response.