Job report after job report has detailed how today’s young adults are over-educated, under-employed, and riddled with debts that will plague them well into their 40s and 50s. Economists and pundits have pointed fingers all over the place, but one unlikely culprit is the job listings themselves. In an attempt to weed out the riff-raff, employers will search only for those applicants with college degrees and years of experience, even when the actual tasks of the job require only high-school level skills. As such, young adults fresh out of college find themselves doing clerical work; the other side of that unfortunate coin is that young adults who did well in high school but did not go to college for any myriad of reasons (sick family, finances, etc.) cannot find work beyond minimum-wage positions.
Some economists are urging companies to invest more in those young adults who lack college degrees and offer clerical positions to them rather than reserving them for someone wildly overqualified. While it may cause hesitation in some companies, there are lots of benefits to investing in Opportunity Youth.
Opportunity Youth are eager to learn: Because of the bleak job prospects, opportunity youth will spring at an offer that will allow them a foot in the door of a “real job.” Especially for those who loved learning already but couldn’t attend college, the learning curve will provide a much-desired challenge to them, and given the quality of their employment, they’ll be dedicated to putting their best foot forward and learning everything possible.
You can tailor your training programs to your company’s standards: Imaginably, you’ll have to do a little more hands-on training with your Opportunity Youth, but that allows you to ingrain in them skills, etiquette, and industry knowledge more specific to your company’s standards.
Opportunity Youth are loyal to the company: Studies have demonstrated that, as flighty as Millennials are, they stay in jobs where they feel valued and invested in. Employing, training, and supporting Opportunity Youth demonstrates to them that, long-term, your company cares about them as employees and as individuals. Developing that company loyalty and mutually beneficial relationship between you and your Opportunity Youth will bloom into a long and happy tenure.
Your company will save money: Applicants with college degrees often charge a premium for their level of education, so not only will they be under-employed for their schooling, you’ll be spending more on their salaries as a result of their over-qualifications. You can start at lower base salaries for your Opportunity Youth and save the company a little money on the front end. Then, to piggyback off the loyalty point, you’ll experience much less turnover with the Opportunity Youth you hire. As any HR professional will tell you, turnover is costly, from the time without an employee in the role to the time spent looking for the right person to fulfill it.