Young Australians shut out of work force sparks calls for new recruitment approach

Published: 19 February 2016 Image credit: Reuters


No skills, no experience, and no hope.

Young Australians are finding it tougher than ever to enter the workforce. With Youth Unemployment, soaring to 14.07% in January - recruitment agencies and leading businesses are calling for fresh thinking on how to get our next generation of workers into the job game.

With competition so tight, Industry experts claim the cover letter is on it’s deathbed and the CV is on life support. Recruiters are now urging younger workers to concentrate on strengthening their social media presence and networking ability if they want to stand out of the overcrowded pack.

“Ironically, young people’s chances of employment are already limited by the very format of the traditional CV and recruitment programs, which have been designed to screen them out in the first place,” Director of Social and Public Affrairs at recruitment agency Randstad Steve Shepherd said. 

“How can they demonstrate, on a resume, skills like creativity, innovation problem solving skills and collaboration, when they have little or no previous work experience?”

It’s not that today’s young candidates lack these skills, it’s that the CV is no longer the best way to showcase them. 

Studies show that up to 92 percent of companies are using LinkedIn, 66 percent using Facebook at 54 percent using twitter while recruiting candidates. 

While companies are still posting jobs vacancies online and with sites such as Seek and Indeed, Forbes magazine reports that 80 percent of vacancies are never publically posted, and 80 percent of roles are filled through networking. 

It’s estimated that 75 percent of workers will be Generation Y or Millennial by the end of the next decade, while in the next five years, 50% of the workforce will be full time freelancers, who, instead of via the traditional CV, are largely recruited via word of mouth, networking and established client portfolios.

“Like the young entrepreneurs that are disrupting traditional business models, we need to think outside the box when it comes to hiring and recruitment,” Mr Shepherd said.

Which is why Randstad has launched a competition with this in mind, inviting young Australians to submit photos and videos demonstrating their “hidden talent,” via Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google+, which will convince employers why they need to “look beyond the resume”. 

With more companies open to alternative recruitment processes, including Randstad’s competition partners Virgin Australia, L’Oreal Australia, and NAB, the trends suggest that employers recognise the generational differences in today’s young workforce and are embracing them.

“The core focus [is] to connect young jobseekers with employers and jobs, in a creative way, to ensure a more sustainable future for them and to develop the workforce of tomorrow,” Mr Shepherd said.