Jack McQuire is the Network Manager for Ice Angels. Being 21 years old, he can give us a first-hand insight into the young New Zealand job seeker. We sat down with Jack to discuss the prospects for young people trying to kickstart their careers in New Zealand.
Do you think businesses in general are wary of employing young people/graduates?
I think businesses are wary of employing people in general. Whether they are they ‘more’ wary of employing young people I think comes down to the individual involved and this is probably more noticeable among certain demographics and in certain industries. My gut feel would be that the more knowledge and skills based industries (the ones that require tertiary education etc) are more friendly towards young people – they appreciate the energy, willingness to learn, and the flexibility of young people. In these industries, I also think there is a lot of ‘grunt work’ that, even though it is a skills-based industry, it is easy to bring on young people at a low cost and give them tasks that don’t need an excessive amount of guidance.
What are some difficulties you have faced being a young employee/job seeker?
I’ve personally had a pretty good experience as a young person, but I think the main challenges facing young people are:
- Learning to negotiate with people senior to you - it is a really delicate skill and is tailored to the person but something I think only comes with experience is building the confidence, separating emotion and understanding people’s drivers.
- Earning responsibility - a lot of employers can be more controlling on a young employee than an older employee in terms of giving them responsibility to step up and giving them a voice in decision making.
What are some key positive attributes young employees bring to the table?
- Generally, I think young people (assuming they are ambitious) will work harder/longer/more than older people - This isn’t a negative reflection on older people, but an outcome from young people having fewer commitments and a hunger to rise up the ranks. Simply, it is easier to pull an all-nighter when you don’t have a spouse or kids waiting at home.
- Young people are generally more affordable to employ.
- “We Don’t know what we don’t know” - whether this is good probably depends on the company/industry but would suggest it leads to more audacious goals and targets. In an ever changing world, with technology, markets and trends constantly evolving what may have previously been impossible – and more experienced staff wouldn’t try again – may be possible with a new approach.
Is a diverse age range within a business important/valuable?
Yes, I think it is crucial for the same reasons that apply to any form of diversity in a business (beliefs, race, education, experience/background, gender etc).
Do you have any advice for businesses considering hiring young employees?
Get to know your employees on a social level, not just a professional level. If you want motivated, long-term employees I think they have to feel valued as more than a worker and have a deeper relationship with their colleagues (particularly those above them in a hierarchy) otherwise they’ll go somewhere they feel more belonging.
Read blog: Setting Up Career Paths for Your Team