Teenagers May Be the Key to Hiring Woes

Julie Shenkman
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Get ready! Teenagers are the key to hiring struggles when it comes to finding hourly workers. With school out for summer, teens are ready to rake in the cash. And with employers easing the credentials candidates need to bring to the table and the offering of higher wages, this summer, like last summer, teens will likely get out there and get a job and get some experience under their belts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), teenagers are ready to get to work, the participation of 16- to 19-year-olds participating in the workforce increased to close to 37%. These numbers are similar to those when the Great Recession occurred back in 2007 - 2009. 

Teenagers are good fits for entry-level roles at restaurants, retail stores, and hotels. Even warehouses have been expanding opportunities to teenagers. As more experienced workers have left these types of positions over the last two years, creating a labor shortage, teenagers have been stepping in. And now that the average hourly wage for workers aged 16 to 24 increased 11.8% year-over-year in March 2022, it is predicted that even more teenagers will be looking for work.

Not sure if the jobs you’re hiring for will attract these young members of the workforce? Here are three things that could help entice teenagers to your positions. 

1. Host a virtual hiring event that explains to these young candidates what it’s like to work at your organization. This way they know what to expect. Often, teenagers have watched hours of videos of what something is like from a ride at Disney World to driving a car, so they know what to expect. They’ll likely be doing research on what it’s like to work for you. In addition to content that is shared about your corporate culture, an event that shares what each job involves and what the day-to-day is like, would be appreciated by these Gen-Zers.

2. Have a buddy system. When someone new starts, assign them a mentor who can help them learn the ropes to navigate the workplace to help them succeed. For a first job, teenagers might not have a full understanding of what is expected of them and that’s where a buddy can help.  

3. Provide an inclusive environment. An environment that respects all employees, regardless of race or gender is a key component when to comes to hiring anyone. It’s especially important for employers to understand the challenges young people face. Providing an environment where employees feel that they can be themselves, learn, succeed, and grow is a big draw for young people. 


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