I spotted a sign once that read, “Hire a teenager now, while they still know everything.”
When you consider those aged 15 – 24 are the most likely of all groups to face unemployment, and that we’re the most likely of all industries to give them a job, you know how much time and resources are involved in helping our young workers realise they have a lot to learn!
Unfortunately, we have seen media coverage over the past week which calls into question the number of junior employees in retail and fast food workplaces.
But these very jobs, and the employers who create them, play a crucial role in developing the future employability of our nation’s teenagers.
Because of measures like junior rates in modern awards, you can afford to hire teenagers who may not have any work experience or demonstrable skills in a working environment, but who are keen for their first gig – whether it be flipping burgers, serving customers, running errands or mopping floors.
But on the flipside, these enthusiastic, fun-loving youngsters are just as important for teaching us as well.
There isn’t a retailer in this country who won’t be affected by the way this generation is changing consumer behaviour and expectations, as they step up as the largest buying demographic in history. So, you’d better be prepared!
They have different aspirations, social values and expectations for corporate activism. They have a greater sense of participation, connection and ownership in the brands they support.These young workers are the most complex, and most powerful, shoppers in history, who do everything in a constant state of partial attention. And they don’t know what it’s like not to have a smartphone in their hand.
We’ve seen some incredible innovations in our sector over the past couple of years, many of which have been driven by team-members who were barely out of high school, but who’d landed roles in really supportive workplaces where everyone’s views are embraced.
Because at the end of the day, retail and young people just go together!
Retail is fun, it has to be innovative, there are plenty of flexible options for those balancing school (and young social lives), and it’s an environment where creativity thrives.