The International Labor Organization has been looking at ways companies can invest in young people while at the same time driving profitability.
“Investing in young people makes sound business sense. Promoting a better skilled and trained workforce will result in higher productivity, competitiveness and retention of workers while at the same time promoting a new expanded client base,” ILO Executive Director Jose Manuel Salazar said.
Young people with good work will of course be the customers of the future, but the ILO says companies can also benefit in ways that will not be felt on the bottom line.
“Indirect benefits relate to image and visibility derived by engagement with corporate responsibility partnerships and investments," Salazar said.
This will ultimately will also lead to economic gains "through, for example, softening youth disaffection and discouragement that can, if not addressed, impact on the business environment," he added. "Another form of indirect benefit relates to reducing the risk of social unrest."
10 Action Points
The ILO has been working on 10 action points businesses can follow to help alleviate the problem of youth unemployment:
• Opinion Leaders: lead national and international opinion and work together to identify key action areas on youth employment
• Work Together: establish partnerships with other enterprises and organizations to examine youth employment policies in terms of the needs of national business
• Co-operation with Government: investigate and utilize government programs and incentives that facilitate job creation for young workers; this would mean in practice subsidizing programs to get young people into work
• Feedback: provide governments with feedback on whether schemes are working or not.
Are the incentives right? Do the programs show a benefit in the long term? Are young people actually employable?
• Utilize Existing Schemes: examine existing organizational structures, work practices and work organization for non-productive impediments to job creation for young people.
• Understand your Company: establish an age and experience profile of your existing workforce to identify where jobs may be found in the future. Admittedly legislation in certain countries may make such a process problematic
• Talk to Each Other: investigate best practices for youth recruitment by other enterprises, understanding best practice elsewhere will help you better understand the possibilities and challenges
• Work with Education Systems: explore the establishment of structured links between business and education. These links take a variety of approaches, such as the partnering of a particular business with a school or teaching of a particular area like engineering
• Work Together with Your Competition: develop linkages between universities and training institutions and industry. For example joint councils on a sector basis made up of representatives of academia and business with the aim of developing and promoting cooperation between enterprises and universities. These initiatives can facilitate the strategic development of the industry; on-the-ground cooperation in a range of fields, including curriculum development, work placements, technical exchange and the like. This will help maximize the potential for cooperation and partnership in research and development
• Corporate Social Responsibility: CSR can be profitable and working with disadvantaged young people may unearth skills that when developed may not be found in MIT or Oxford University graduates. Standing tall at an inner city comprehensive when home life is difficult or even those excluded from the education system due to bad behavior can be leaders of the future