News / Press
May 2012 - Young Workers – The Next Generation
Just as Star Trek had a Next Generation, the youth of today is – and will have to be – the next generation of workers and business leaders. What can they do to succeed in the current job market and what options are open to them?
Today’s young workers do not have it easy. With fewer jobs available, more (often experienced) people competing for them, and many of us working well into our twilight years, the employment market is an extremely difficult place for the novice jobseeker. Getting the skills required to move up one’s chosen career ladder has, arguably, never been more difficult. There are, however, a number of ways to get started.
Applying for part-time work may not be as attractive as a full time position, but it may be a foot in the door for full time employment further down the line. The employment rights of part-time workers are required to be no less favourable than for full time employees and they are specifically protected against less favourable treatment under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations. Employers are much more likely to look to increasing the hours of a part-time employee first, before venturing into the recruitment of a new, as yet untried and untested job applicant. Securing part-time work is therefore a good way to secure full time employment at a later date.
Signing up to a temping agency is another good way of increasing exposure to businesses with employment opportunities and can also be a good way of getting a foot in the door for full time employment. The Agency Workers Regulations that came into force on 1 October 2011 increase the rights of agency workers who now benefit from many of the same rights as the permanent employees with whom they work. Importantly, they are entitled to be notified of, and apply for, permanent vacancies which become available during their temporary placement.
For those aged over 16 who have left school, completing an apprenticeship with a business is a great way of gaining skills and qualifications while earning a wage at the same time. Many businesses are now offering apprenticeships as the Government increases the funding available to those that offer them. Typically, an apprenticeship will be within a vocational occupation and last for 2 to 4 years. While the minimum wage for an apprentice is only £2.65 per hour, many apprentices earn much more than this, while the skills learnt at this young age will be a valuable asset for progressing up the career ladder.
With fewer young people expected to take a place at University due to the sharp increase in tuition fees, the national minimum wage for young workers has hit the spotlight. The rate for those aged between 18 and 20 has been the same for the past 2 years, at £4.98 per hour. This has also been the case for those over 16 but under 18 years old, whose rate is currently at £3.18. A tough start for the next generation, though, with plenty of options to explore, this should increase their chances of success.
• Dawn Robertson is head of Murray Beith Employment