How to be an attractive employer for young people

You want to recruit young people, but you know they are critical in their choice of employer. If they do not like a company, they quickly leave. How do you make the younger generation want to (continue to) work for you? In this article, you will read what many young people find most important in their choice of job. And with which leadership style you can bind them to your company.

Important terms of employment for young people

There are 3 terms of employment that the youngest generation of workers between 15 and 25 years of age consider most important. Include the conditions in your job description or mention them in the job interview.

1. Help young people with their development

Help young people discover their talents and pay attention to their development. Many students do not know at the end of their studies what kind of job they want, says Angela Weghorst, owner of research agency TwinQ: Insights & Inspirations. She conducted research into what concerns young people. "Most people are simply good at the things they like most. That certainly applies to young people. If they know where they want to go, they are very driven." Help young people discover what they want to grow in and draw up a Personal Development Plan (in Dutch). See if subsidies are available and reduce the cost of training.

2. Free up budget for coaching

Support young people and offer financial support for coaching (in Dutch). In fact, 8 in 10 young people want a coach from their first day at work. "Young people crave guidance and personal attention, but often do not use a coach because they are not reimbursed for the costs ", explains Weghorst. "As an employer, you can also offer that coaching yourself. This prevents problems from arising or getting worse." 1 in 3 young people have mental complaints (in Dutch), such as stress or loneliness. This may be due to a difficult home situation or uncertainty about their own skills. So, create a budget for coaching. Use this budget of, say, €1,500 for a coaching programme, with which young people can work on their own development.

3. Offer immediate financial security

Give young people good working conditions from the start, so they can make ends meet and have the freedom to build an adult life. "Young adults who start working want to have a place of their own," explains Weghorst. "But because of the housing shortage, renting or buying a house is incredibly expensive. Often they also have to pay off study debt."

By removing money worries (in Dutch) from your employees, you create a greater sense of loyalty. So, give younger employees the certainty of good terms of employment from the start, such as an annual contract or employer's certificate of satisfaction. If possible, help find affordable housing or contribute to paying off a student debt (in Dutch).

Check whether the salary you offer matches the average in the market, for instance through the Salary Compass (in Dutch) on Ask your employees if they are satisfied with their income.

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Finding staff in a tight labour market is a challenge. Still experts and entrepreneurs see opportunities, such as recruiting via Open Hiring or finding foreign staff. Learn from their experience and tips.

Managing young people

Adapt your management style to the wishes of the new generation. Many young people need freedom, honesty and the feeling that they can be themselves. Weghorst gives the following tips.

Involve young people in choices

Respond to young people's need for freedom. "Young people today are fairly insensitive to power. They do not want to just follow 'orders' because they have to." So, involve young people in the choices you make in your company. That way, you will get motivated employees (in Dutch).

Be honest and open

Make sure you are open and honest from the start towards employees and applicants. That way, you reduce the chances of a mismatch. "Young people immediately pierce through excuses. Or go looking for answers themselves. For example, a young applicant once asked about the divorce rate within a company. For him, that gave a picture of the workload. His reasoning was: 'If others are not happy here, then I do not want to be here'." 

Focus on unique characteristics

Focus on someone's unique qualities (in Dutch) and do not be put off by any labels young people are given these days. Does an applicant talk about a particular label, such as ADHD or autism? Then tap into the associated talents. "People with adhd tend to be real doers, people with add tend to be very creative and someone with autism often works in a structured way," he says. It is striking that over 40% of young people feel 'different' because of these labels." Do not be guided by prejudice and give everyone a chance.